E.A. Sports Today

Back on top

Anniston girls win 17th county title after missing finals last year, swamp Wellborn with stifling defense, Miajah Bullock

Tournament MVP Miajah Bullock (3) drives the lane against Wellborn’s Aliyah Thrasher. Bullock scored 32 points in the championship game, 80 in the tournament. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

2017 Calhoun County Girls Tournament bracket – GIRLS BRACKET
(Bracket by Kurt Duryea)

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

The Anniston Lady Bulldogs are back where they belong. They restored their dominance in the Calhoun County Girls Basketball Tournament by collecting their 17th title in the 39th edition Saturday with a 66-14 victory over sixth-seeded Wellborn.

They did it with old-fashioned defense, shutting out the Panthers 27-0 in the second half. The 14 points were the fewest allowed in tournament finals history. It’s a defensive effort that is expected from Anniston head coach Eddie Bullock.

“I think I was very pleased with the effort out there tonight,” Bullock said. “These kids earned it and I am going to let them get the trophy by themselves.”

The Bulldog defense has done this before. Earlier in the season they blanked Saks in the second and third quarters on their way to a 76-6 win and had shutout quarters in victories over Handley and White Plains.

“I do not think there has ever been a second-half shut out in the county finals before,” a proud Bullock said.

Anniston was in five straight finals until last year’s quarterfinals loss that left Bullock with what he called “one of the worst feelings in the world.”

The Lady Bulldogs came back this year more determined than ever to regain the title and played like a team on a mission over the week-long tournament. They took wins over Alexandria, White Plains and Wellborn to win their third title in four years and eighth in 11 years.

A devastating press and constant pressure defense were the keys in the first quarter as Anniston opened a 17-7 lead. Wellborn jumped out front 5-2 and was creating turnovers with its defense, but Anniston worked it inside for a couple of baskets by Toniah Foster and was off and running.

Maijah Bullock led a 33-4 run with 22 first-half points and seven rebounds and Anniston enjoyed a 39-14 halftime lead. Keandra Finley added 11 points as the Bulldog defense created 16 first-half turnovers to put the game away.

Bullock and Finley continued their barrage in the second half with one of the most impressive halves in a championship game ever.

Bullock ended up with 32 points and 12 rebounds in the game; the tournament MVP scored 80 points and had 32 rebounds in the three wins. Finley had some pretty impressive numbers herself with 60 points in the tournament.

“It is a great feeling,” Miajah Bullock said. “We wanted to redeem ourselves for last year and that is what we did. Keandra and I were the two leading scorers and we wanted this tournament badly. We are just so proud.”

“We have worked hard in practice and have done what coach wanted us to do,” said Finley. “We had to keep it going every minute in the game. We did what we wanted to do and win this tournament. This was such a positive experience for us.”

Vanessa and Katessa Carter had been averaging 27 combined points a game for Wellborn entering the finals and the Bulldogs held them to just five points. Vanessa had them all.

NOTES: Tenth-seeded Weaver certainly made an impression in the tournament. The Lady Bearcats had the most picks on all-tournament team — four. Anniston, Pleasant Valley and White Plains had two each. In all, 10 schools were represented. “It helps when you play almost ever day the gym was open this week,” Weaver coach Gary Atchley said. “It was awesome. I’m so proud.”

Anniston 66, Wellborn 14
Vanessa Carter 2 0-0 5, Anaya Lowe 0 0-0 0, Loni Welch 0 0-0 0, McKenzie 0 0-0 0, Katessa Carter 0 0-0 0, Amaya Myles 0 0-0 0, Itiania Weatherly 1 0-0 2, Jayla Lowe 0 0-0 0, Aliyah Thrasher 1 0-0 3, Becca Salter 0 0-0 0, Markeisha Jones 2 0-0 4. Totals 6 0-0 14.

ANNISTON – Miajah Bullock 13 6-6 32, Carlina Welch 0 0-0 0, Keandra Finley 8 1-2 20, Amoriya Dudley 1 0-0 2, Jordyn Johnson 1 0-0 2, Monteiga Clemons 2 0-0 4, Taniya Foster 0 0-0 0, Tekyia Jackson 0 0-0 0, Toniah Foster 3 0-4 6. Totals 28 7-12 66.

Wellborn 7 7 0 0 — 14
Anniston 17 22 21 6 — 66

3-point goals: Wellborn 2 (V. Carter, Thrasher); Anniston 3 (Finley 3). Total fouls: Wellborn 10, Anniston 5. Officials: Don Shirey, Craig Fair, Horace Williams.


Mariah Thompson, Weaver
Tayanna Perry, Weaver
Grey Young, White Plains
Kyra Williams, Jacksonville
Anna Bolton, Oxford
Rayne Beck, Weaver
Keandra Finley, Anniston
Bre Bradford, Alexandria
Atleigh Brannon, Pleasant Valley
Caleigh Cortez, Weaver
Kourtney Shuler, Ohatchee
Mikala Simpson, Pleasant Valley
Shelby Wood, White Plains
Katessa Carter, Wellborn
Myiah Harris, Sacred Heart

Outstanding Offensive Player: Vanessa Carter, Wellborn
Outstanding Defensive Player: Miajah Bullock, Anniston
Most Valuable Player: Miajah Bullock, Anniston

Anniston’s defense put the clamps on Wellborn leading scorer and all-tournament pick Vanessa Carter. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login