Austin’s Charles Echols scores 18, keeps the peace in win against Prosser
Charles Echols raced away from the interview and down a hallway to break up a fistfight starting.
Austin senior Charles Echols said he has been waiting his whole life to be interviewed by a reporter after a basketball game. But then a more pressing matter came up.
Echols, who scored 18 points and grabbed five rebounds in the Tigers’ 76-43 rout Friday of host Prosser, raced away from the interview and down a hallway to break up a fistfight between two people.
Echols successfully ended that particular incident, but a brawl spilled into the cafeteria. His coach, Troy McGee, pulled him away from the melee and herded the rest of his team into the locker room.
There was another fight between fans on the court after the game. Prosser’s staff was overwhelmed handling the multiple incidents, and there didn’t appear to be any police at the game. There were, however, several squad cars present outside the school shortly afterward.
When things calmed down, Echols got his interview and started discussing his high-scoring team that won the Blue-West.
‘‘We really don’t do layups because that is easy money,’’ Echols said. ‘‘We like the big shots, and we are going to win or lose as a team. We have a strong mentality here.’’
Austin (17-4) is the highest-scoring Class 1A team in the state, averaging more than 80 points.
‘‘We shoot — that is what we do,’’ McGee said. ‘‘Our offense is designed to take the first available shot, if it is a good shot, and not worry about missing.’’
Senior Andrew McClain joined Echols with 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Tigers. Junior Kevin Gentry added 11 points and senior Mario Lloyd 10.
Austin jumped out to a 16-2 lead, but the Falcons cut the deficit to five points in the second quarter and trailed by 10 at halftime. The Tigers then took control with a 13-2 run midway through the third quarter.
‘‘Our No. 1 goal for the season was just to get out of the Blue, so we accomplished that,’’ McGee said. ‘‘Next is the overall Blue championship [tournament] and then a push for state.’’
Austin might be a major factor in the Class 1A tournament. The Tigers might have been a factor last season, too, but they mixed up the schedule for regionals and wound up not showing up to their playoff game.
‘‘We can win state this year,’’ McClain said. ‘‘I love our team. Having so many shooters is fun.’’
Prosser (7-15) has had a rough season. Six players, including highly regarded junior Norvell Meadows, transferred out of the program when it dropped down to the White-West this season.
‘‘It has been a rebuilding year,’’ Falcons coach Perrick ‘‘Moon’’ Robinson Jr. said. ‘‘It’s a new group of guys that are trying to understand what we’ve been building. We have five new starters this year, and our record shows that.’’
Senior Davion Wells scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed five rebounds for Prosser. Senior Benny Franklin added nine points and five rebounds, and sophomore Jamarion Thomas had eight points and six rebounds off the bench.