E.A. Sports Today

Cubs come up big late

Alexandria rallies from early deficit to score rare regular-season win over Anniston, pull into a share of the lead in their area

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

When Alexandria coach Jason Johnson saw the makeup of this week’s schedule, he knew it was going to be a tough gauntlet to negotiate, but he also saw it as an opportunity.

If the Valley Cubs were going to get back in the race to host their area tournament, this was the perfect opportunity to do it. They were going to play each of their three area rivals on consecutive days; the NBA doesn’t even make you do that.

They make the third stop on their area adventure Thursday with a chance to sweep the run. They checked the second stop into the W column Wednesday when they got past Anniston 56-52.

The win moved them into a tie with the Bulldogs as the only teams in their area with one loss. The Cubs recouped their other loss Monday by beating St. Clair County and can complete the sweep Thursday at Lincoln.

“It’ll mean we’ll play next Tuesday for everything,” Johnson said. “We knew this was going to be a tough week, an important week, and it could end up shaking everything out. We’ve put ourselves in a good position.”

The guys who wear the highest uniform numbers on their roster had the biggest impact for the Valley Cubs in the box score – just as they did the night before against St. Clair County. Caleb Young scored 15 points, Luke Tucker had 14 and Marcus Swink had 10.

Riley Shaw, who wears the smallest number on the roster, made two of his team’s biggest plays in the fourth quarter when he banged home a 3-pointer to tie the game with 5:48 to play and scored a driving layup to give the Cubs the lead for good a number later.

“You’ve got a lot of intensity right there,” Shaw said. “We’ve got to be fighting like that all the time. I feel like something just clicked right there that we hadn’t had yet, for sure.”

Young admitted he was “a little nervous” about the task ahead when he saw the scheduled laid out Sunday. But he was confident if the Cubs played as a team they could get it done.

In the end, Anniston coach Schuessler Ware conceded, the Bulldogs (11-3) made too many turnovers and didn’t make enough shots to make a difference.

The Bulldogs led by eight after the first quarter, but scored only two points in the second and were lucky to have a one-point lead at the break.

They shot 30 percent from the floor in the game and were 7-of-27 from 3-point range. DeQuan Ross led Anniston with 18 points and 17 rebounds. Tray Croft had 14, hitting three 3-pointers in the final 80 seconds trying to bring the Bulldogs back.

After winning 11 in a row, Anniston is now stuck in its first two-game losing streak of the season.

“We just didn’t play ball tonight,” Ware said. “We beat ourselves. We’ll just try to regroup and show them their mistakes and go from there.”

Alexandria 56, Anniston 52

ALEXANDRIA (10-2) – Riley Shaw 2 2-4 7, A.J. Martin 0 0-0 0, Dalton Dodd 2 1-3 6, Gerald Murphy 0 0-0 0, Jamal Tucker 0 1-2 1, Jordan Romine 0 0-0 0, Caleb Young 5 4-7 15, Marcus Swink 5 3-6 13, Luke Tucker 5 3-4 14. Totals 19 14-26 56.

ANNISTON (11-3) – Marrio Dobbins 0 0-0 0, Tray Croft 5 0-0 14, Hakeem Ross 3 1-1 8, Davion Tippins 1 2-2 4, Willie Thomas 4 2-5 11, DeQuan Ross 6 2-2 15, Chris Beard 0 0-0 0, Tae Miller 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 7-10 52.

Alexandria 10 9 16 21 — 56
Anniston 18 2 14 18 — 52

3-point goals: Alexandria 4 (Shaw, Dodd, Young, L. Tucker); Anniston 7 (Croft 4, H. Ross, Thomas, D. Ross). Total fouls: Alexandria 12, Anniston 20. Officials: Stephens, Robinson, Smith.

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