Eagle teams hightlight annual Thanksgiving Tournament

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 1, 1999

After both Fort Dale Academy varsity basketball teams began the season with losses at Escambia Academy, the Eagle squads were looking to their Thanksgiving Tournament as redemption.

The Thanksgiving Tournament, sponsored by Pioneer Electric, brought in Escambia, Wilcox Academy and Kingwood Academy over last weekend.

The FDA girls' team avenged their season opening loss to Escambia by defeating them 59-56 in the tourney's championship game last Saturday.

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The boys' basketball team were downed by Kingwood 54-39 after their win against Wilcox on Friday evening.

FDA boys' and girls' coach Reggie Mantooth said Kingwood was a great team.

"The Kingwood boys' team is a great team and to play such high caliber teams in this tournament will help us improve our game," Mantooth said.

Mantooth said the tournament offered some entertaining games.

"All the games were exciting. We had

a lot of close games that the fans enjoyed," Mantooth said. "The stands were filled for the tournament."

In the girls' rematch with Escambia on Saturday, FDA senior Melissa Gilbert led the team with 22 points and five assists and two steals.

Gilbert was named the girl's MVP after the Eagles captured the tourney championship.

"She played great in Saturday's game," Mantooth said. "Although we still need to improve, I think the girls did a good job in winning the tournament."

Senior Abbie Gardner scored 14 points in the win against Escambia.

In Friday's game against Wilcox, FDA senior Jami Barrow led the way with 21 points while going 50 percent from beyond the arc.

"Jami performed well against Wilcox Friday night," Mantooth said. "She added that spark we needed."

Making the all tournament team for the FDA girls' team were Barrow, Gilbert and Gardner.

On the boys' side, the FDA Eagles defeated Wilcox 79-51 to make the tourney championship game against Kingwood.

FDA senior Marshall Watts led all scorers with 20 points.

Watts also brought down 12 rebounds in the contest.

The senior also had one block, two steals, and three assists.

Adam Crenshaw scored 12 from the point guard position while snatching four defensive rebounds away from Wilcox.

"They played well Friday night," Mantooth said. "I had a chance to play a lot of people and everyone contributed."

On Saturday, the Eagles kept the game close until the four minute mark in the fourth quarter.

However, the Eagles lost by 15 points.

"Even though we lost, I feel the boys played well, especially on defense. Creating defensive pressure is one of their strong points," Mantooth said.

On the defensive side, Watts had ten steals for the Eagles.

Crenshaw led the team with 11 points while Sumpter McGowin scored 10 points.

The boys took second place in the tournament.

Watts and Crenshaw made the all-tournament team at the conclusion of the championship game.

"I thought both teams played well and the tournament provided a great atmosphere for basketball," Mantooth said. "Pioneer Electric did a nice job in supporting the tournament."

The coach said the tournament will help the teams in the long run.

"Playing in some tough, close games like these will help us down the road," Mantooth said.

FDA will host Crenshaw Christian on Dec. 2 starting with junior varsity at 4 p.m.