E.A. Sports Today

Anniston boys fall in regional

Bulldogs close early, but J.O. Johnson pulls away, wins by 25

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – As an Anniston guy, Jack Doss never would have expected to beat an Anniston team by 25 points, whether in a tournament or the regular season.

As an Anniston player, neither would DeQuan Ross.

But there were the numbers, in the bright lights of the Pete Mathews Coliseum scoreboard — J.O. Johnson 70, Anniston 45.

“I would’ve never thought we’d have lost like that,” Ross said. “Coming from a different school, I would look up to Anniston because I saw they were pretty good. I never saw them play and get beat that bad. They’re (J.O. Johnson) pretty good.”

The second-ranked Jaguars (29-4) had four scorers in double figures and held Anniston scoring machine Tray Croft to only one field goal to advance to the Class 5A Northeast Regional final against Butler, Doss’ old team.

Terrion Bone led all scorers with 20 points. Sophomore John Petty, one of the nation’s best players in his class and one of the “most exciting” players Doss says he’s ever been around, had 14, including a spectacular dunk. Justin Hopkins and Jarius Grayson had 10 each.

They also outrebounded the Bulldogs 35-24 while shooting 53 percent from the field for the game. They made more free throws (26-of-38) than Anniston took (16-of-25).

“When you’ve got young players I’ve got with the length, it certainly makes it hard,” Doss said. “Better big players beat smaller players who are just as talented. We had great length and defensively we played well.”

It was Grayson who played the stifling defense on Croft. The Anniston junior, who scored 39 in a game earlier this year, was only 1-for-12 from the field (0-for-6 from 3-point range) – and that was his second shot of the game midway through the first quarter. He was the only Anniston scorer in double figures.

“The defense was good, but at the same time it was me, too,” Croft said. “I was falling away on my shot, not following through like Coach told me to. I let my team down a little bit because I didn’t really do my part like I should have. It’s a life lesson. You’ve got to play through it.”

Even though the final margin was wide, it was close early. Ross was at the line for an and-one with 2:51 left in the first quarter that would’ve tied the game. He missed and the Jags went on to score the last eight points of the quarter to seize control.

“I hadn’t ever been a great free throw shooter, and I get a little frustrated with every shot I miss and that kind of takes my game away,” Ross said. “The coaches tell me to keep playing. That free throw probably could’ve made a difference in the game.”

The Jags led 17-8 at the end of the first quarter, 30-19 at halftime and stretched it to 24 through three quarters.

“We got kind of frustrated because offensively we didn’t play the way we’re capable of playing,” Anniston coach Schuessler Ware said. “We were rushing shots, not squaring up or following up. And whenever we had a chance to get a turnover we didn’t capitalize on it.”

J.O. Johnson 70, Anniston 45

J.O. JOHNSON (29-4) – Terrion Bone 5-9 8-11 20, Brandon Crosby 0-2 0-0 0, Justin Hopkins 3-5 4-7 10, Devonte Lanier 1-1 5-8 7, John Petty 4-10 5-6 14, Demarcus Wade 0-1 1-2 1, Jell Thompson 0-1 0-0 0, Justen Wherry 0-0 0-0 0, Jarius Grayson 4-5 2-3 10, Jamar Jackson 2-4 1-1 8. Totals 20-38 26-38 70.

ANNISTON (17-12) – Tray Croft 1-12 9-10 11, Hakeem Ross 3-11 2-4 8, Davion Tippins 0-1 0-2 0, Tae Miller 1-5 1-2 4, DeQuan Ross 4-5 0-1 8, Marrio Dobbins 0-2 3-4 3, Antonio Smith 1-1 0-0 2, Quindarious Burton 4-5 1-1 9, Jakoey Bradford 0-0 0-1 0, Justin Bagley 0-0 0-0 0, Emmanuel James 0-0 0-0 0, Trevonte Carter 0-0 0-0 0, Tarek Woods-Packer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-42 16-25 45.

J.O. Johnson 17 13 27 13 — 70
Anniston 8 11 14 12 — 45

3-point goals: J.O. Johnson 4-9 (Bone 2-4, Perry 1-2, Jackson 1-2); Anniston 1-12 (Croft 0-6, H. Ross 0-2, Miller 1-3, Dobbins 0-1). Rebounds: J.O. Johnson 35 (Bone 8); Anniston 24 (Croft 6). Total fouls: J.O. Johnson 19, Anniston 28. Technical fouls: H. Ross, Dobbins, J.O. Johnson. Fouled out: Anniston, H. Ross, D. Ross, Dobbins, Bagley. Officials: Young, Jordan, Reyes.

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