E.A. Sports Today

Well-croft-ed win

Croft goes for 39 as Anniston completes sweep of Alexandria for boys, girls area titles

Anniston guard Tray Croft looks to make an outlet pass in the area tournament title game against Alexandria. On the cover, Croft follows through on one of his 20 shots. (Photos by Chad Barnett)

Anniston guard Tray Croft looks to make an outlet pass in the area tournament title game against Alexandria. On the cover, Croft follows through on one of his 20 shots. (Photos by Chad Barnett)

By Chad Barnett
East Alabama Sports Today

The story coming into Thursday was centered around two programs vying for the Class 5A Area 12 crown. The final chapter was written in large part by one of Anniston’s finest.

Junior guard Trey Croft went off on Alexandria for a game-high 39 points as the Bulldogs routed the Valley Cubs 87-73.

Croft built his big game behind 11-of-20 shooting from the field (4-of-9 from 3-point range) and 13 of 14 from the free throw line. The 39 points were the most by an Anniston player in a game since Terry Collins went for 41 against Saks during the Bulldogs’ 2001-02 state title run and tied Faith Christian’s Caleb McCord for the most points in a game by a Calhoun County player this season.

“I just came out and played hard,” said Croft, who took pauses between comments to wipe blood from his mouth. “I was in the drop in the first quarter. In the second quarter I just turned it up a little.”

The Bulldogs were looking for a little payback for their loss to the Valley Cubs in the Calhoun County Tournament and Croft turned it up in the most critical minute of the game. Both teams traded licks throughout the first half with Alexandria taking an early seven-point lead only to watch Anniston pull away by six.

Both teams were tight with less than a minute to go in the first half when Croft knocked down three 3-pointers, the last of which came near the buzzer. The nine points gave Anniston a 10-point lead heading into the break.

“We came out and ran a play designed for me and I hit one 3 and then the other two came,” Croft said. “It lifted us a lot. We felt real comfortable when we got the lead and we just kept playing hard.”

Alexandria tried to mount a comeback in the third quarter but was unable to gain any momentum. The Cubs never got closer than the margin created by the last-minute onslaught by Croft in the second quarter.

“We needed this win for home court advantage when we cross over,” said Croft. “We’ve gotten better as a team. We’re playing as one now.”

DeQuan Ross added 17 points for Anniston and Marrio Dobbins had 10. Alexandria had four scorers in double figures – Dakota Kelley (20), Luke Tucker (12), Ronnie Royal (13) and Alton Davis (10). Tyrelle Gay, whose last-second basket beat the Bulldogs in the County Tournament, had five points before fouling out.

The Bulldogs will now host the loser of Area 11 title game between Springville and Mortimer Jordan, while Alexandria, as area runner-up, will travel to that game’s winner.

Anniston girls start slow, finish well

Eddie Bullock’s girls won the area championship despite playing one of their worst halves of the season. The Bulldogs were held to just 13 points in the first half and were fortunate to be tied with Alexandria going into halftime, but had enough in the end to win 50-33.

“They had a good game plan trying to come in here and slow things down,” Bullock said. “They did that well tonight to start. I had to start changing defenses on them to open things up. Once we got them confused on the defenses we went back into man and were able to get some steals.”

The Bulldogs got the bulk of their scoring from three players. Kiyana Bullock had 20 points and 16 rebounds, while Raven Cooley and Miajah Bullock had 10 points apiece. Carsheuna Curry had 10 rebounds. Kaitlin Brown led Alexandria with nine.

In winning the area crown, the Bulldogs earned the right to host the loser between Mortimer Jordan and Springville in the Sub-Regional round of the state playoffs. Alexandria will travel to that game’s winner.

Bullock says his team should be poised for the next round after tonight’s performance.

“If we played Mortimer Jordan or Springville like we played tonight, we’d have gotten beaten bad,” he said. “So hopefully this lets us focus on what we need to do.”


Anniston 87, Alexandria 73

ALEXANDRIA (22-6) — Chance Williams 0 1-3 1, Austin Wells 1 0-0 2, Nick Porter 0 2-2 2, Riley Shaw 2 0-0 5, Alton Davis 2 6-9 10, Tyrelle Gay 1 3-5 5, Caleb Young 1 1-2 3, Ronnie Royal 5 3-7 13, Luke Tucker 5 1-1 12, Dakota Kelley 7 2-2 20. Totals 24 19-31 73.

ANNISTON — Marrio Dobbins 4 3-6 11, Tray Croft 11 13-14 39, Hakeem Ross 1 4-4 6, Davion Tippins 3 0-0 7, Tae Miller 1 1-1 3, DeQuan Ross 4 7-10 15, Justin Bagley 1 2-2 5, Emmanuel James 0 1-2 1. Totals 25 31-34 87.

Alexandria 14 13 22 24 — 73
Anniston 18 19 28 22 — 87

3-point goals: Alexandria 6 (Shaw, Tucker, Kelley 4); Anniston 6 (Croft 4, Tippins, Bagley). Total fouls: Alexandria 28, Anniston 26. Fouled out: Gay, James. Officials: Reyes, Higetson, Teel.

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