E.A. Sports Today

Bam goes the Bulldogs

Post Ross steps out and hits five 3-pointers as No. 2 Anniston rolls over Weaver in County Tournament quarterfinals

Tray Croft (15) and DeQuan Ross, Anniston's two leading scorers in the game, turn defensive and trap Weaver's R.J. Wooden into a turnover. On the cover, post Ross follow through on one of his five 3-pointers in the game. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

Tray Croft (15) and DeQuan Ross, Anniston’s two leading scorers in the game, turn defensive and trap Weaver’s R.J. Wooden into a turnover. On the cover, post Ross follow through on one of his five 3-pointers in the game. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — For as long as he has been playing the game, much of DeQuan Ross’ time on the floor has been spent between the block and the end line. His role is banging bodies, clearing the boards, cherry-picking around the rim and being a general nuisance in the paint.

Somebody forgot to tell folks he’s also a pretty good outside shooter when he gets the chance.

Ross showed that side of his game Thursday, stepping out and hitting five 3-pointers in Anniston’s 76-35 rout of Weaver in the quarterfinals of the Calhoun County Tournament.

They call Ross “Bam” for his physical presence. But by the end of the night folks in Pete Mathews Coliseum were going “Bam” every time the 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior loaded up behind the arc and drained a long 3.

Ross scored 25 points in the game, grabbed 10 rebounds and had three steals. He was 10-of-15 from the floor in the game, 5-of-6 from beyond the arc.

“Last time I told you that I’ve always been able to shoot, but I’m a dominant big man and my post moves are just better than theirs, but at the same time I’ve gotten comfortable with the 3 because coach told me to shoot it if I’ve got it,” said Ross, who said he wants to be a shooting guard on the next level. “They give it to me because I’m the center, so they don’t expect me to shoot it until I start shooting and I continuously knock them down.

“It was like Christmas. I’ve never been able to shoot that many 3s in a game or at least knocked down that many 3s.”

Ross wants to be a shooting guard at the next level and Bulldogs coach Schuessler Ware is giving him every opportunity to show recruiters that part of his game. He figures Ross has made at least one 3 every game since, ironically (considering their semifinal opponent), their meeting with White Plains.

“Whatever he’s called on to do, he’ll try to do it,” Ware said. “I give him the confidence and the encouragement that if he knew he could knock it down, just take the shot, which is something I never had when I went to school. My coach never encouraged me. I was scared to take the shot because I was scared I would miss it – but I knew I could hit it. He’s been having the green light.”

Weaver coach Daryl Hamby identified Ross before the game as one of the three Anniston players the Bearcats needed to bottle up – along with Tray Croft and Hakeem Ross – to have a chance, but they simply lost him in their zone.

As it turned out all three scored in double figures, with Croft going for 22 (on 8-for-11 shooting) and Ross going for 13.

Bam hit at least one 3-pointer in each of the four quarters and hit two in the third.

“We got lost, we didn’t cover him well,” Hamby said. “We knew he could shoot inside and out and we just didn’t cover him too well. It wasn’t by choice we wanted to leave him open. We had other guys we wanted to leave open, but he wasn’t one of them. He just worked and got open.”

The Bulldogs had everything go their way in the game. They trailed only briefly, 5-4 after a Delo Forbes’ 3-point, then made the first of several runs that put them in command. They led 45-19 at halftime.

Tray Croft had 17 of his 22 points in the first half and Ross had 14 of his. Hakeem Ross had 13. London Knight led Weaver with 10 points.

“I was just glad to a chance to play again since we hadn’t played since last Friday,” said Bulldogs coach Schuessler Ware, still in the T-shirt promoting autism awareness he wore during the game.

Anniston now plays White Plains in Friday’s semifinal at 6:30 p.m.

Anniston 76, Weaver 35

WEAVER – Delo Forbes 2 0-0 5, Craig Copeland 1 0-0 2, Paul Hubbard 2 0-0 4, London Knight 3 4-4 10, Dalton Hamby 1 0-0 2, R.J. Wooden 0 0-0 0, Gio Mosley 2 0-0 4, Malik Arnold 2 0-0 4, Ducky Morris 2 0-0 4, Justin Chapman 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 4-4 35.

ANNISTON – Marrio Dobbins 1 1-2 3, Tray Croft 9 3-4 22, Hakeem Ross 6 0-0 13, Davion Tippins 1 0-0 2, Willie Thomas 3 2-2 9, Leonard Brown 0 0-0 0, DeQuan Ross 10 0-0 25, Jarvis Jackson 0 0-2 0, Mikhail Smith 0 0-0 0, Chris Beard 1 0-0 2, Tae Miller 0 0-0 0, Trevonta Carter 0 0-0 0, Tareeq Wood-Packer 0 0-0 0. Totals 31 6-10 76.

Weaver 11 6 8 10 — 35
Anniston 22 23 22 9 — 76

3-point goals: Weaver (Forbes); Anniston 8 (Croft, H. Ross, Thomas, H. Ross 5). Total fouls: Weaver 6, Anniston 5.

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