E.A. Sports Today

Anniston girls come up short

UPDATED: Last-second layup fails to fall, ending tough shooting night for Lady Dawgs

Anniston guard Miajah Bullock keeps her eye on the clock as she drives for the potential game-tying basket at the end of Thursday night's game.

Anniston guard Miajah Bullock keeps her eye on the clock as she drives for the potential game-tying basket at the end of Thursday night’s game.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

BIRMINGHAM — For the second year in a row, the Anniston girls’ hopes of playing for a state championship came up one shot short.

This one hurt. A lot.

The Bulldogs lost to Brewbaker Tech in the Class 5A girls semifinals 42-40 Thursday in a game moved to the Bill Harris State Fair Arena to accommodate the altered scheduled created by Wednesday’s weather.

It was the second year in a row they lost a tight game in the semifinals. Last year it was because of something they didn’t do. This time, it was something they couldn’t get to fall.

“Tough game, man, tough game,” Anniston coach Eddie Bullock said. “It’s a little bit different than the game last year because we lost by one point (to Calera) when we kind of blew an assignment. This particular game we just didn’t make the shot. You could find any one thing in the early part of the game, but they just outscored us by two points.”

The Lady Dawgs (27-9) had the final shot to send the game to overtime or maybe win it with a three-point play. Miajah Bullock drove the lane for the potential tying layup as the final seconds ticked away. Her shot caromed off the rim, but the rebound fell too far away with too little time left for the Bulldogs to get up a put back.

Both Miajah and Ki-Yana Bullock were fighting back tears as they sat through the post-game news conference. Miajah then sobbed uncontrollably in the arms of a supporter outside the dressing room afterwards.

“I was close; I should’ve made it,” Miajah said. “I needed it for my team.”

She was there for her team early. The sophomore guard scored Anniston’s first seven points and 10 in the first half as it took an 18-16 lead. She finished with a game-high 15 points. Ki-Yana Bullock had 12 points and 14 rebounds.

“I tried to do everything I could, but it just happened,” Ki-Yana said. “I guess it wasn’t our turn to win.”

Brewbaker Tech (23-7) now faces defending champion Wenonah (31-3) for state title Saturday at 9 a.m. in the BJCC. The Lady Dragons crushed Talladega 73-34 in the first semifinal.

Things may have been different if the Lady Dawgs would’ve taken the layups Brewbaker Tech seemed to be giving them or making the ones they did get.

Miajah’s last points of the game, a put-back with 1:43 left, put Anniston ahead 37-36. The Rams then got behind and inside Anniston’s defense to score the next six points and take the lead for good.

Davia Palmer’s basket with 8.4 seconds left made it 42-40. The Lady Dawgs fouled Bianca Jackson at midcourt with 6.9 seconds left and Jackson missed the front end of her one-and-one to set the stage for Miajah’s final shot.

When the free throw didn’t fall, Miajah led a frantic 5-on-4 break to the other end. Jackson “just froze” at the line and hoped her teammates would get the stop at the other end. Miajah drove hard down the right side of the floor, slashed across the lane and put up her shot. Palmer couldn’t get it back up before the horn sounded.

“She did what we asked her to do,” Eddie Bullock said. “I told them during the timeout we were only down two and if she missed the free throw we didn’t need a 3, all we needed was a 2, so attack the basket and we might’ve gotten an and-one, and that’s what she did. It just didn’t fall.

“I thought we had a chance to pull this one out. That’s just the way the ball bounces. You’ve got to come back next year try to do it again.”

It was a tough shooting night for Anniston all around. The Bulldogs were 13 of 48 from the field and hit only two of 12 from 3-point range. County and regional tournament MVP Raven Cooley had the toughest night of all. She was 0 for 14, 0 for 10 from behind the arc.

“It hurts,” Eddie Bullock said. “You’ve got to go back and get them back up to want to do it again next year. You’ve just got to wait 364 days. Same situation as last year. We’ll find a way to bounce back.”

Anniston's Ki-Yana Bullock (34) has her shot blocked by Brewbaker Tech's Charlisa Wellington.

Anniston’s Ki-Yana Bullock (34) has her shot blocked by Brewbaker Tech’s Charlisa Wellington.

On the cover: Anniston coach Eddie Bullock watches the action unfold during Thursday’s Class 5A girls semifinal game against Brewbaker Tech. (All photos by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

Brewbaker Tech 42, Anniston 40

ANNISTON (27-9) — Miajah Bullock 5-12 3-4 15, Raven Cooley 0-14 0-3 0, Davia Palmer 3-6 0-0 6, Carsheuna Curry 1-6 1-2 3, Ki-Yana Bullock 3-8 6-6 12, Carlina Welch 0-0 0-0 0, Takia Shears 1-2 2-2 4, J’kyra Clemons 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-48 12-17 40.

BREWBAKER TECH (23-7) — Bianca Jackson 4-16 2-4 10, Ashley Free 0-1 0-0 0, Charlisa Wellington 5-15 0-0 10, Sharde Thomas 2-4 0-0 5, Michaia Fluellen 6-14 0-0 12, Allia Grant 0-0 0-0 0, Jalyn Bowen 2-3 1-5 5, Faith Holley 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 19-55 2-9 42.

Anniston 11 7 10 12 — 40
Brewbaker Tech 8 8 9 17 — 42

3-point goals: Anniston 2-12 (M. Bullock 2-2, Cooley 0-10); Brewbaker Tech 1-7 (Jackson 0-2, Free 0-1, Wellington 0-2, Thomas 1-2). Rebounds: Anniston 34 (K. Bullock 14); Brewbaker Tech 45 (Wellington 13). Total fouls: Anniston 12, Brewbaker Tech 12. Officials: Dockery, Madsen, Cushenberry.

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