By Robert L. Jones
Special to the Daily
Julia and Taylor Echols were superb for the Eagle's Landing Christian Academy Chargers in their games against the St. Francis Knights. Julia Echols scorched the nets for 35 points, carrying the Lady Chargers to a 60-35 victory.
Taylor Echols' 25-point effort just wasn't enough as the bigger, quicker, and sharper Knights held off a late surge to hand the Chargers their first defeat of the young 2009-2010 season, 58-44.
Julia Echols was all over the floor, driving to the hoop, drawing fouls, cutting off passing lanes for steals, and hustling for loose balls.
She scored eight in the first quarter, 11 in each of the second and third periods, and finished with five free throws in the fourth for 58 percent of the Lady Chargers scoring. She attempted a mind-boggling 19 free throws.
The Lady Chargers victory is all the more amazing in that ELCA (2-0) did not score for the first 4:36 of the game. After spotting St. Francis a 6-0 lead, the Lady Chargers turned on the electricity with Echols the most electric of them all. ELCA slowly pulled away, outscoring the Lady Knights 12-4 in the last part of the first and 19-12 in the second. The second half was all ELCA, and the only question was whether Echols would outscore the entire Lady Knights team.
Echols led ELCA with nine rebounds and four steals, and she received scoring support from Symone Ball, who netted 13. St. Francis, which had just seven players, seemed to tire late in the game. Caroline Edmond led the Lady Knights with 10 points, and the inside tandem of Sasha Robinson and Antoinette Brown dominated rebounding with 18 and 13, respectively.
The St. Francis boys broke away from a 5-5 tie in the first with an 8-0 run, and the score was never closer than four points the rest of the way as ELCA's Chargers (1-1) just couldn't generate much offense against the big, quick, and athletic Knights. Echols helped keep ELCA within reach with 10 in the second, six in the third, and five in the fourth, but 29-25 just after halftime and 44-39 during a brief flurry in the fourth was as good as the Chargers could do. The Chargers' frustration was summed up in one possession in which Isaac Rochell missed five inside shots, despite grabbing three offensive rebounds in the sequence.
Sam Kim of the Knights was superb in the fourth to blunt the Charger hopes for a comeback. Kim, who sat 10 minutes of the first half with three early fouls, had five assists in the fourth and sank three free throws, leading a 9-0 run after ELCA had closed to 44-39. Kim finished with eight assists. ELCA had no answer for Kim or for the inside game of St. Francis. The Knights had a trio of double digit scorers in Nick Grant (16), Chris Hawkins (11), and Victor Alexander (10).
Echols' 25 points was 57 percent of the ELCA, falling one percentage point below his sister's percent of team scoring in the early game. He added six rebounds, three assists, and four steals.