E.A. Sports Today

Breaking: Back to the future

Anniston beats Lincoln on throwback night to win area boys title; this story will be updated

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Schuessler Ware went deep into his “warehouse” to bring the Anniston basketball team some inspiration for its biggest game of the year.

Wearing uniforms that were older than most of the players on the floor, the Bulldogs beat Lincoln 57-53 Friday to win the Class 5A Area 12 boys title.

The uniforms came from the late 90s – even before Ware became the varsity coach. They were noteable for the high shorts that featured a maroon-and-black stripe down the left leg and a bulldog logo on the right.

There must have been some magic in those old uniforms he found, because when the Bulldogs placed them on … oh, wait, that’s a different song.

The Bulldogs didn’t necessarily play their best, and fought through foul trouble all night, but Lincoln had its troubles, too. The Bears had trouble hitting shots – from the floor and at the line – and Anniston usually was there to grab the rebound. Lincoln was 9 of 20 from the free throw line and had only two 3-pointers.

Davion Tippins and Emmanuel James each hauled in 12 rebounds for Anniston. DeQuan Ross, the first player to see the throwback jerseys when Ware broke them out shortly before the game, led the offense with 15 points. Tray Croft had 14 points and Marrio Dobbins had 12.

Anniston never trailed after midway through the first quarter, but it was tight. The Bears regularly got within one in the third quarter, but the Bulldogs kept them at bay.

Zay Caldwell’s 3-pointer with 41.6 seconds left drew Lincoln to within 55-53, but Croft made both ends of a one-and-one with 22.5 seconds left to push the lead back to four. The Bears missed a 3-pointer and a short putback with 7.5 seconds left. They retained the ball, but Hakeem Ross stole the inbounds pass to seal the game.

The Bulldogs will host the area tournament and play St. Clair County in the first round. Lincoln and Alexandria will play in what could be an epic 2-3 game to advance.

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