E.A. Sports Today

Lincoln takin’ care of business

UPDATED: Second-half surge lifts Golden Bears to rare win over Anniston

Lincoln players (from left) Dee Whiteside, Quin Carmichael, D.J. Bradford and Tyler Hemphill react to a whistle during Thursday's game with Anniston.

Lincoln players (from left) Dee Whiteside, Quin Carmichael, D.J. Bradford and Tyler Hemphill react to a whistle during Thursday’s game with Anniston.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

LINCOLN – Every player who entered the Lincoln dressing room Thursday night felt they had some unfinished business with the team on the other end of the floor.

The Golden Bears lost to Anniston by three the last time the teams played and they believed it was a game they could’ve – should’ve – won.

They exacted their measure of revenge Thursday, ramping up the intensity in the second half to beat the Bulldogs and end nearly 40 years of frustration 63-52.

“We thought we were going to be in big trouble (at halftime) but Coach told us we had to step up because it’s been a long time since we beat Anniston,” said Dee Whiteside, who led the Bears with 18 points and 11 rebounds despite picking up three fouls — including a technical — in the first quarter. “He just told us to step our game up and we came out and did our thing and got the W.

“I don’t know how long it’s been, but I know we hadn’t beaten them since the team got in high school and we actually started playing. Last year we came real close and this year the motto was we have some unfinished business when we play them. We had to have a mindset. We got down and we had to fight our way back in it.”

School officials said it was Lincoln’s first victory over Anniston since 1977 — two years before current coach Rush Rutledge was even born. There was a stretch in the ’80s and ’90s when they didn’t play due to the disparity in the sizes of the schools, they said.

“You have to think now we’re not known in basketball; they are,” Rutledge said. “They’re known for ‘Anniston,’ for pressure defense, whatever way they’re playing it that year. I preach to my guys it’s been since 1980 we’ve even made it out of the subregionals — that’s the last time we won the state championship. It’s been that long since a team has done anything other than go out in the subregionals. That’s a long time now.”

The Bears (6-3) claimed the area victory basically because they didn’t turn it over against the press in the second half and the Bulldogs (4-3) couldn’t score.

At the outset it looked as if it was going to be an easy Anniston win. The Bulldogs roared to a 20-9 first-quarter lead and were ahead 34-27 at halftime. But the Bears responded to Rutledge’s halftime speech with more intensity in the second half and eventually tied the game at 41 late in the third quarter.

They took their first lead of the game on Whiteside’s layup with 6:47 left in the midst of a 12-0 run and never let it go. Tyler Hemphill put an exclamation point on the run with his third 3-pointer of the game to make 55-47 with five minutes to play.

Hemphill scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half; he also contributed six steals. Quin Carmichael scored six of his 11 points in the fourth quarter and collected 10 rebounds in the game.

“We weren’t focused in the first half,” Hemphill said. “Once we got into the locker room at halftime, coach got on to us, got into our junk. He said we needed to bring the intensity up, pressure the 3-point line, don’t make any stupid mistakes. Take more charges.”

For the Bulldogs the offense just stopped working. They scored only five points in the crucial fourth quarter, 18 in the second half. They missed enough close-in shots in the second half to win by double digits. They wound up shooting 19 of 52 from the floor in the game, but had only one basket in the final 5:02.

They didn’t have many alternatives to change their luck. They were down to nine players as they’ve lost four – including two potential starters — for disciplinary and sundry reasons.

Tray Croft led Anniston with 17 points, but he had only two after halftime. Davion Tippins was the Bulldogs’ only other scorer in double figures (10). DeQuan Ross had nine points and eight boards.

“Their shot wasn’t falling, they got frustrated with it, but you’ve got to learn how to bounce back and … stay with the game plan,” Anniston coach Schuessler Ware said. “We just didn’t play like we did the first half. We missed too many shots under the basket, defensively we weren’t helping out; we weren’t communicating, and that really hurt.”

Lincoln 63, Anniston 52

ANNISTON (4-3) – Tray Croft 5 5-6 17, Hakeem Ross 2 0-0 5, Davion Tippins 4 2-2 10, Marrio Dobbins 1 0-2 3. DeQuan Ross 3 3-6 9, Joshua Duncan 2 0-2 4, Emmanuel James 2 0-0 4. Totals 19 10-18 52.

LINCOLN (6-3) – Isaac Davis 2 0-0 4, C.J. Orr 1 0-0 3, Zay Caldwell 3 3-4 10, Tyler Hemphill 5 1-2 14, D.J. Bradford 1 0-0 3, K.J. Collins 0 0-0 0, Quin Carmichael 3 5-6 11, Dee Whiteside 6 6-13 18, L.J. Carmichael 0 0-2 0. Totals 21 14-35 63.

Anniston 20 14 13 5 — 52
Lincoln 9 18 18 18 — 63

3-point goals: Anniston 4 (Croft 2, H. Ross, Dobbins); Lincoln 6 (Hemphill 3, Orr, Caldwell, Bradford). Total fouls: Anniston 21, Lincoln 15. Technical foul: Whiteside. Fouled out: H. Ross, Tippins.



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