E.A. Sports Today

No rust here

‘Focused’ Lady Bulldogs didn’t look like a team that hadn’t played in 15 days in beating Alexandria

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

For a team that had been away from competition for 15 days, the Anniston girls basketball team looked pretty good Wednesday night.

The layoff certainly didn’t affect Raven Cooley’s shot and the Lady Bulldogs’ defense was as sharp as ever in an easy 60-27 area victory over Alexandria.

“They were a little bit focused,” Anniston coach Eddie Bullock said. “It was a lot better than I thought it’d be, but they came out focused. I was really proud of how focused they were.”

The Lady Bulldogs (8-3), recently installed as the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Calhoun County Tournament, hadn’t played since Dec. 22 in a tournament at Fort Payne.

They haven’t not been in the gym all that time. Quite the contrary, they spend the eight days after Christmas sharpening the defensive skills Bullock knows will be their key to making another deep run in the state tournament.

“We were always doing something,” Cooley said.

It showed Wednesday. After Cooley’s 3-pointer opened the scoring, the Lady Bulldogs’ next 13 points were produced directly off turnovers. They had 25 steals in the game, with J’Kyra Clemons and Miajah Bullock having five each. Three others have four apiece.

They gave up 13 points in the first quarter, 14 the rest of the game.

And one might think such a long layoff would impact their shooting touch; quite the contrary. Cooley hit six 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 22 points.

She was 6-of-13 from beyond the arc, 8-for-17 overall. The Lady Bulldogs made nearly 45 percent of their two-point shots and shot 41 percent for the game.

“All I did was take my time was just take my time, shoot relaxed and I knew it was going to come,” Cooley said.

Anniston used two big runs in the middle of the game to put it well out of reach. Alexandria’s Allison Bonds hit a 3-pointer to open the second-quarter scoring, then the Lady Bulldogs scored the next 20 points to halftime. Timberlyn Shurbutt hit two 3s to open the Valley Cubs’ second half, then Anniston scored the last 16 points of the third quarter.

On the cover: Anniston girls coach Eddie Bullock relays instructions to his players during a game last season. (Photo by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

Anniston 60, Alexandria 27

ALEXANDRIA – Sarah Kilgore 0 0-0 0, Connieya Bradford 3 3-5 9, Gracie Muncher 0 0-0 0, Molly Parker 0 0-0 0, Brooke Ponder 0 0-0 0, Timberlyn Shurbutt 3 0-0 8, Shelby Lowery 0 0-2 0, Allison Bonds 1 0-0 3, Destiny Heathcock 2 0-0 6. Totals 9 3-7 27.

ANNISTON (8-3) – Miajah Bullock 5 2-2 12, Raven Cooley 8 0-0 22, Carlina Welch 3 0-0 6, Viera Edmondson 0 0-0 0, Davia Palmer 4 0-2, Keandra Finley 2 0-0 4, Amoriya Dudley 1 1-2 3, Montego Clemons 0 0-0 0, Carsheuna Curry 1 0-0 2, Toniah Foster 0 0-0 0, J’Kyra Clemons 0 0-0 0, Mattie Logan 0 0-0 0, Jemya Bullock 0 3-4 3. Totals 24 6-10 60.

Alexandria 13 3 6 5 — 27
Anniston 21 20 16 3 — 60

3-point goals: Alexandria 5 (Heathcock 2, Bonds, Shurbutt 2); Anniston 6 (Cooley 6). Total fouls: Alexandria 9, Anniston 6. Officials: Stephens, Robinson, Oden.

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