E.A. Sports Today

Anniston advances

Bulldogs use 3-point shooting early, free-throw shooting late to get past Alexandria; brackets included

Players from Alexandria and Anniston do the Hidden-Ball Ballet during their Calhoun County Tournament game Thursday night. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Calhoun County Boys 2017 thru quarterfinals – BOYS BRACKET

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – Anniston coach Torry Brown had a few decisions to make Thursday when he came into Pete Mathews Coliseum for the Bulldogs’ first game in this year’s Calhoun County Tournament.

Among them was choosing a shooter for the F&M 3-Point Shootout being promoted at the tournament.

His team gave him plenty of choices in the game.

The third-seeded Bulldogs hit a season-high 10 3-pointers and held on down the stretch with free throws to edge sixth-seeded Alexandria 54-46 Thursday in a battle of top 10 opponents. They now play second-seeded Oxford in Friday’s 8:30 p.m. semifinal.

Five different players hit from beyond the arc in the game for Anniston (13-7), the seventh-ranked team in Class 4A. The most the Bulldogs had hit in a game prior to Thursday was nine in a 67-62 loss to Fairfield in the Big Orange Classic at Hoover.

Marrio Dobbins hit three, while Jakoey Bradford, William Fairley and Stedman Orr each hit two. The other one belonged to James Haynes. The Bulldogs hit seven in the first half to open a 30-17 halftime lead.

“They were leaving us open, so we were shooting it,” Dobbins said.

“We’ve made shots sporadically throughout the season and it’s been different guys each night,” Brown said. “As long as they’re really good consistent shots … It’s the quality of shot and not the quantity of shot we’re focusing on. As long as they’re good solid shots we’ll live with the result of them.”

Dobbins led Anniston with 17 points. Orr had a career-high 10; he had scored only 22 points – and no more than five in any game — this year. Normally a playmaker who’ll find the open man, Orr hit a pair of 3s on back-to-back possessions in the first quarter to give the Bulldogs the lead for good.

Ultimately, Brown decided on Fairley to participate in the contest, which could bring the school $10,000 if the sophomore wins the 3-point qualifying and hits a half-court shot during Saturday’s championship doubleheader.

Fairley’s second 3-pointer gave the Bulldogs a 45-38 lead with 4:47 to play. A few moments later Dobbins extended the lead to nine points, but then, as has happened several times this season, the big lead started to slip away.

Sparked by a 1-3-1 trap with Dalton Dodd at the top that Anniston couldn’t handle, the 5A No. 10 Valley Cubs (14-8) climbed back within three with less than a minute to play. But then they started firing up 3s that missed the mark and Anniston closed it out by hitting five of nine free throws the rest of the game.

The Bulldogs put it away when Haynes hit two free throws on an intentional foul with 15.1 seconds left, then Joetavious Embry made another on the ensuing possession.

“We found a way to win; it wasn’t pretty,” Brown said. “The first half we had the tempo we wanted and then all of a sudden they came out and put the ball in the hole a lot more, which slowed us down, and they got the ball inside. It was a grind out, a dogfight down the stretch, but luckily we were able to hold on with a few foul shots.”

Dobbins never lost confidence.

“All we had to do was keep our composure and stay consistent,” he said.

Alexandria’s Dodd led all scorers with 18 points. He hit three 3-pointers among his 15 points in the second half.

Anniston 54, Alexandria 46
Chase Smitherman 4 0-0 8, Austin Taylor 1 0-0 3, Dru Davis 1 0-0 2, Dalton Dodd 6 3-4 18, Romeo Dye 1 0-1 2, Jamal Tucker 2 2-3 6, Josh Tucker 2 3-6 7, Landon Williams 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 8-14 46.

ANNISTON (13-7) – Marrio Dobbins 6 2-4 17, Jamaree West 0 0-0 0, James Haynes 2 2-3 7, Jimmy Felder 0 0-0 0, Jakoey Bradford 3 0-2 8, Diondric Harvey 1 1-1 3, Hunter Rouse 0 0-0 0, Stedman Orr 4 0-0 10, William Fairley 2 0-0 6, Dontavious Davis 0 0-0 0, Joetavious Embry 0 3-6 3. Totals 18 8-16 54.

Alexandria 14 3 12 17 — 46
Anniston 15 15 9 15 — 54

3-point goals: Alexandria 4 (Taylor, Dodd 3); Anniston 10 (Dobbins 3, Haynes, Bradford 2, Orr 2, Fairley 2); Total fouls: Alexandria 12, Anniston 14.

Anniston’s Stedman Orr scored a career-high 10 points and hit two 3s in the first quarter to get the Bulldogs rolling.

To see more B.J. Franklin photos from the Anniston-Alexandria game, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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