Escambia’s Tommy Carter has shown the ability to catch fire on the basketball court.
Though the junior point-guard said his shooting has been “inconsistent” at times this season, Carter certainly remembers dropping 22 against Pensacola High (tip-off classic), his game-winning three against Washington (tip-off classic) and his performance in the Crusader Classic (hit at least four-three pointers in all three Classic games).
Carter and the Gators will need to execute Thursday night in what might be the biggest stage they’ve played on this season — a District 1-6A clash with Pine Forest that will be televised on WFGX at 7:30 p.m.
“It’s a real exciting game for us … being on TV, that is every kids dream,” Carter said. “Me and my teammates are really looking forward to it.”
In the first meeting between the teams, Escambia trailed by 15 at halftime before rallying in the final two quarters — ultimately losing by four.
“We started off slow as a team (against Pine Forest),” Carter said. “Coach (Robbin Alexander) kept saying we would get back in the game, and we believed. Pine Forest is a very scrappy team. They do good job on the boards and get a lot of second-chance points. If we can keep them off the boards, then we will have a good chance.”
Escambia (10-8, 1-6 in District 1-6A) sits in seventh spot of the district chase, while Pine Forest (12-3, 5-1 in 1-6A) holds the second spot.
“We feel good and I believe in my team … and I know they believe in me,” Carter said. “It’s on TV and it is a district game … we are going to play hard. Pine Forest has one of the top spots in the district, we are trying to get there.”
If the televised matchup is anything like the first, Pine Forest coach C.J. Washington expects a “tit-for-tat game with a lot of momentum swings.”
“We both (Escambia and Pine Forest) made runs in that game,” Washington said. “Whoever won was going to be the team that was hot towards the end of the game. Fortunately it was us. It was a pretty exciting game.”
Washington said he and the Eagles have been approaching Thursday’s game as the next game on their schedule and not making too much of the television-hype.
“Escambia has a real-athletic team, we’ve gotta be able to take it possession by possession,” Washington said. “Carter is a really good player … he can shoot it. They’ve got Trae Berry … he brings length and can play. Z’Khari Blocker is very active.”
District 1-6A Showdown
Who: Pine Forest Eagles vs. Escambia Gators
Where: Pine Forest High
When: 7:30 p.m.
Skinny: Pine Forest survived Escambia with a four-point win on Dec. 11.