E.A. Sports Today

Surprise shooter

Anniston post Ross steps out to the corner and nails a 3 to cap the run that put down White Plains

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Anniston’s DeQuan Ross says when he steps out and hits a 3-pointer he wants it to be a surprise.

It didn’t surprise his teammates Monday night when the post player stepped into the left corner and drained a 3 at a key point in the fourth quarter. But you should have seen the look on some of the White Plains players’ faces.

White Plains coach Chris Randall called it a “huge momentum basket, a big shot.” All it did was cap the most significant run of the game and give the Bulldogs the 10-point lead they carried to a 60-50 victory.

“I always could shoot,” Ross said, “we just don’t have anybody who’s able to do the things I do in the post, so therefore I do work in the post then leak out to the 3-point line and it’s unexpected.

“When I hit a 3 I want it to surprise people. I don’t want people to go out there calling me a shooter or anything like that. I want to be the underdog to everyone we go against.”

It was Ross’ third 3-pointer of the season. He also made one in the third quarter against Sylacauga and one in the fourth quarter against Parker.

While his latest 3 was exciting, Ross made a play three minutes earlier a little more in line with his regular responsibilities that was even more significant. Even Randall called it the biggest play of the game.

White Plains had just made it a one-point game when Ross stole the ball in his forecourt and took it in for a layup. It sparked an 11-2 run – capped by his 3-pointer – that gave the Bulldogs a 54-44 lead with just over three minutes to play.

“I wanted to knock that one down because I air-balled one in the first half,” Ross said. “I wanted to knock the next one down — so Coach wouldn’t yell at me.”

Bulldogs coach Schuessler Ware doesn’t have any problem with Ross stepping out for an occasional 3. He just wants to make sure it’s a good shot – and somebody is near the spot Ross is supposed to be to rebound if he misses.

“I know he can hit it, I’ve been encouraging the boy to shoot, he’s one of the best shooters on the team,” Ware said. “We’re trying to get more people involved in scoring. All of them have a green light, but I always tell them about making the right decision. I don’t ever tell a kid don’t shoot but I tell them know your shot, know what you can do, because if you can’t you’ll be sitting over there next to me.”

Ross finished with 23 points. Tray Croft added 18 for the Bulldogs (7-1), who have won seven in a row.

Kevin Carr led White Plains with 18 points; he hit four 3-pointers. He scored eight straight in one stretch that gave the Wildcats (7-3) a 38-35 lead with three minutes left in the third quarter.

Michael McGuirk had 14 for the Wildcats, nine in the fourth quarter. Murphy Doss had 11, nine in the first half.

“We played hard enough to win, just didn’t play good enough to win,” Randall said. “We didn’t make open 3s, they did.”

There was some thought that with Sacred Heart a No. 1 team in the state and the defending tournament champions, the teams here were playing for the No. 2 seed in the Calhoun County Tournament.

The Bulldogs say don’t sell them short.

“Personally, I don’t worry about that; as a team we’re just trying to get to state,” Ross said. “Sacred Heart’s not in our classification but we’re going to meet them in the Calhoun County, but I believe we’re the 1 seed. We’re better than them.”

Anniston 60, White Plains 50

ANNISTON (7-1) – Chris Beard 0 0-0 0, Davion Tippins 3 0-0 6, DeQuan Ross 10 2-3 23, Hakeem Ross 3 3-3 9, Leonard Brown 0 0-0 0, Marrio Dobbins 1 0-1 2, Mikhael Smith 0 0-0 0, Tray Croft 6 3-5 18, Willie Thomas 0 2-5 2. Totals 23 10-17 60.

WHITE PLAINS (7-3) – Jerod Guthrie 0 2-2 2, Kevin Carr 5 4-7 18, Eli Hightower 1 0-0 2, Michael McGuirk 4 4-4 14, Jackson Guthrie 0 0-0 0, Lawrence Jackson 1 0-0 3, Macy Carr 0 0-0 0, Murphy Doss 5 0-0 11. Totals 16 10-13 50.

Anniston 20 8 13 19 — 60
White Plains 13 10 15 12 — 50

3-point goals: Anniston 4 (Croft 3, D. Ross); White Plains 8 (K. Carr 4, McGuirk 2, Jackson, Doss). Fouled out: Tippins. Total fouls: Anniston 15, White Plains 16. Officials: Kelley, Gilbert, Watson.

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