E.A. Sports Today

Seeking redemption

Anniston back in the county tournament girls finals after making an early exit last year

Miajah Bullock said she cried last year when the Anniston girls made an early exit from the county tournament. Bullock led the Lady Bulldogs to a berth in the title game Friday. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — Miajah Bullock cried when her Anniston girls basketball team got put out of the Calhoun County Tournament last year. She didn’t want to feel that way again, especially in her senior year.

Bullock and the top-seeded Lady Bulldogs have a shot at redemption after earning a spot back in the championship game with a 44-20 win over White Plains.

They’ll play sixth-seeded Wellborn Saturday at 6 p.m.

When the Lady Bulldogs lost to Oxford in their first tournament game last year, it marked the first time since 2010 – and just second since 2006 — they were not going to be playing in the finals.

“We were very motivated (this year),” the senior guard said. “People thought they were going to upset us this year, but we weren’t going to let it happen. We came in as hungry as possible.

“I cried that I couldn’t play (last year), because I played my very best in that game and I hate we let it slip away from us. That was a really big upset for us. We were the No. 1 seed, we were expected to win, and we weren’t supposed to let them come in and take what was ours.”

As bad as Miajah felt about that loss last year, it couldn’t have worse than what her uncle, Anniston coach, Eddie Bullock felt. It hurt him worse, he said, because he heard what people were saying.

“They were pretty determined (to get back to the finals), but I don’t think they were determined than me,” he said. “It was the worst feeling I ever had (last year). It’s not that we played so bad, we didn’t play up to what we’re capable of playing. It’s like redemption now.”

Miajah Bullock scored 17 points and through three quarters had as many points as the Lady Wildcats did as a team. She also grabbed five rebounds and had five steals and still felt she could have played better for her teammates. Toniah Foster had eight points and nine rebounds.

It was a close game early, then the Lady Bulldogs turned up the defense that’s their rock in the second quarter and steadily pulled away. Baskets off three straight turnovers carried the Lady Bulldogs from a one-point lead early in the second quarter to eight. They held White Plains to 10 points over the final three quarters.

“He always stresses to us about defense; he says defense wins championships,” Miajah said. “We knew when it was close at halftime we had to turn defense up a notch and that’s what we did.”

Anniston 44, White Plains 20
Rian Chandler 1 0-0 3, Hanna Dyar 0 0-2 0, Hannah Barno 0 0-0 0, Jordan Sabree 1 0-0 2, Landy Bussey 0 0-0 0, Chasity Nelson 1 0-1 2, Ary Rosario 0 0-0 0, Grey Young 2 0-0 5, Shelby Wood 0 8-8 8, Jocelyn Harris 0 0-0 0. Totals 5 8-11 20.

ANNISTON – Miajah Bullock 6 3-10 17, Carlina Welch 1 0-0 2, Viera Edmondson 0 0-0 0, Keandra Finley 3 2-2 9, Amoriya Dudley 0 0-0 0, Jordyn Johnson 0 0-1 0, Monteiga Clemons 3 0-0 8, Tekyia Jackson 0 0-0 0, Toniah Foster 4 0-0 8. Totals 17 5-13 44.

White Plains 10 4 2 4 — 20
Anniston 13 11 9 8 — 44

3-point goals: White Plains 2 (Chandler, Young); Anniston 5 (Bullock 2, Finley, Clemons 2). Total fouls: White Plains 12, Anniston 12. Officials: Lail, Hodge, Madsen.

Anniston’s Keandra Finley (20) tries to rip the ball from White Plains’ Shelby Wood. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

To see more of B.J. Franklin’s photos from the Calhoun County Tournament, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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