E.A. Sports Today

Lady Jackets stun top seed in OT

Oxford comes from behind to knock off top seeded Anniston, sets up semifinal matchup with Pleasant Valley

The game official is forced to duck and cover to avoid the Oxford team erupting from the bench celebrating its victory over top-seeded Anniston in overtime. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography

The game official is forced to duck and cover to avoid the Oxford team erupting from the bench celebrating its victory over top-seeded Anniston in overtime. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — Ebony Kelley fought through foul trouble most of the night, but she was there to deliver when her team needed her most.

Kelly’s three-point play with two minutes to go overtime gave fourth-seeded Oxford the lead for good as it came from behind to knock off top-seeded Anniston 50-47 Wednesday in the Calhoun County Girls Tournament.

The Lady Jackets (10-9) trailed 37-30 in the fourth quarter, but sent the game into overtime with a furious 14-7 run capped by Winter Taylor’s basket with 44 seconds to go.

They now play fourth-seeded Pleasant Valley in the semifinals Friday at 4 p.m.

Kelley was saddled with four fouls and sat out much of the early going, but still responded with six points and 12 rebounds.

“We had to sit her early as she was not blocking out on the boards and we had to have her blocking them off the boards to win,” Oxford coach Tonya Peoples said, back on the bench after missing her team’s tournament opener for family reasons. “She was there when it counted in overtime.”

It was such a hard defeat, the Lady Bulldogs stayed in the dressing room until the start of the second half of the boys game that followed theirs.

“We just talked about it,” Anniston coach Eddie Bullock said. “When you’re coaching kids they have to understand that there’s more to it than just a game. It’s easy for you to congratulate them and pat them on the back when things are going well; that’s the easy part, when you’re winning. But the hard part is to let them know how much you care about them and what you need to do when you’re down in situations like that.

“Right now they’re at a down moment … They need support. They don’t need you to beat them down. You win some and you lose some … they need you to lift them back up and say we’ve gotta fix this. Well be all right. It’s not the end of the world. We lost the county tournament, that’s all.”

There is just something about the Calhoun County Tournament that seems to bring out the best in the Lady Bulldogs. Sometimes it takes them a while to get rolling, but when they do, they create a furious pace that always seems to start a run that wilts their opponents.

The Lady Jackets were just as intent on stopping the Bulldogs’ runs. Some well-timed 3-pointers and solid defense kept the runs short and kept Oxford within striking distance until they struck with a 14-7 run in the fourth quarter.

Defensively the Jackets shut down Anniston leading scorer Raven Cooley. She scored only eight points. Miajah Bullock was Anniston’s top scorer with 18 points; she also had 12 rebounds and three steals. Davis Palmer had 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

In the end, the Lady Bulldogs missed too many shots late in the game, several of them right around the basket, and got beat on the boards.

“Oxford just made a few more plays than we made and that’s the way it is,” Bullock said. “The two areas they really got us in is they beat us on the boards and didn’t stop them from getting second shots and we kind of rushed a few (shots) at the end.”

Oxford got off to a quick start in the game behind a couple of Taylor baskets that staked them to an 8-2 lead. Cooley got Anniston going midway through the first quarter with two quick baskets off the press and the battle was on.

Anniston scored seven straight points to go up 14-12 before a Anna Bolton jumper tied the game at 14. Bullock’s long 3-pointer at the buzzer sent the Bulldogs into the half with a 17-14 lead.

Cooley drilled a three pointer to give Anniston a 24-17 lead midway through the third quarter, but back came the Jackets three point baskets from Anna Bolton and Tremeria Britt to knot the game at 27-27 and set up a fourth quarter for the ages.

“I was proud of the way we finished,” Peoples said. “We have been focusing on that a lot lately and tonight I was proud of the way we did. All of the kids and coaches were great tonight. It is a great win for us.”

Britt ended up with 16 points to lead Oxford in scoring. Taylor had 10 points and eight rebounds, while Jordan Smith had eight points and 15 rebounds.

Oxford 50, Anniston 47

OXFORD — Anna Bolton 2 0-0 5, Makayla Kidd 0 2-4 2, Winter Taylor 4 2-4 10, Makayla Lowery 1 1-2 3, Acacia Kidd 0 0-0 0, Tremeria Britt 5 3-6 16, Ashleigh Goodwin 0 0-0 0, Ebony Kelley 2 2-3 6, Alex Gomez 0 0-0 0, Jordan Smith 4 0-0 8, Grace Mitchell 0 0-0 0,

ANNISTON — Miajah Bullock 7 3-11 18, Raven Cooley 3 1-1 8, Carlina Welch 0 0-2 0, Davia Palmer 3 5-9 11, Keandra Finley 1 0-0 2, Amoriyah Dudley 0 0-0 0, Monteiga Clemons 0 0-0 0, Taniya Foster 0 0-0 0, Carshauna Carey 0 0-0 0, J’Kyra Clemons 3 0-3 6, Mattie Logan 0 0-0 0, Jemya Bullock 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 9-26 47.

Oxford 10 4 13 17 6 — 50
Anniston 7 10 12 15 3 – 47

3-point goals: Anniston 2 (Bullock, Cooley); Oxford 4 (Bolton 1, Britt 3). Total fouls: Anniston 14, Oxford 16.

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