E.A. Sports Today

Lady Bulldogs win another

Anniston girls recover from a slow start to win 4A Area 8 crown; MVP Miajah Bullock scores career-high 32 points

Tournament MVP Miajah Bullock was strong on both ends of the floor for Lady Bulldogs Friday night. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Boy, that Eddie Bullock is tough to please. Not that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

It’s probably the reason his Anniston girls basketball teams go as deep as they do every year in the playoffs, never settling for anything less than as good as he knows they can be.

So, that’s why even though the Lady Bulldogs won another area tournament title with a 63-30 win over Handley Bullock preferred to talk about the shortcomings in the effort over superlatives like tournament MVP Miajah Bullock’s career-high 32 points.

With the win, the Lady Bulldogs (22-5) earned the right to host Jacksonville, renewing an intense county rivalry in Monday’s Class 4A sub-regional game. Handley (13-12), meanwhile, will travel to Hokes Bluff.

The Lady Bulldogs (22-5) started slow against Handley’s 1-3-1 zone – just the way the visitors wanted – and fell behind 8-1 at the start. Even though they pulled away in the second quarter, they didn’t really pick things up to Bullock’s liking until the second half after an attention-getting intermission.

“I want to brag on how we didn’t play defense like we should have,” Bullock said. “We had too many mistakes. We came out too comfortable.

“I’m trying to get my girls to where they don’t come out lackadaisical because when you get in this time it’s one and done. We play a good team and come out like that will get beat. We can’t afford that anymore. We’ve got to come out a little bit more poised and take care of business.”

Once the Lady Bulldogs got going, they were sharp. They worked their way back to 10-10 tie at the end of the first and then outscored Handley 16-2 in the second — scoring the last 16 points of the quarter — to build a 14-point halftime lead, but Bullock wasn’t happy with the way they got it.

They continued the run in the third quarter, scoring 12 of the first 16 points, and looked better doing the things important to the coach. They scored almost as many points in the quarter as they did in the first half and more points than Handley had scored in the first three quarters.

“We went in at halftime and he was so upset at us,” MVP Miajah said. “He got mad. He said that was the worse defense we ever played in a while. He told us to stay positioned and don’t reach and don’t foul. Once we did that, that’s when the defense started clicking.

“We play a fast-tempo game and we just came out playing slow; it was just a lack of focus. We can’t go out against Jacksonville and lay an egg like that because they’re coming to kick our behinds. We can’t lay down for no one, so that’s why he was really upset.”

The matchup with Jacksonville rekindles a long-standing rivalry between the schools largely played out in the County Tournament. It’s particularly poignant to Bullock, because she went to Jacksonville schools K through 8.

Then she moved to play for her uncle and after a brief stint on the junior varsity has been a fixture on the Anniston varsity ever since.

“It’s always pretty competitive when I played against them,” she said. “I want to beat them bad.”

In addition to MVP Miajah, the rest of the all-tournament team included Anniston’s Carlina Welch, the player Eddie Bullock says will be most influential to the Lady Bulldogs’ postseason success, Keandra Finley and Toniah Foster; Handley’s TeNequa Rhodes, ShyNia Patterson and Loni Veal; Saks’ Miracle Dennard and Maya Carlisle; and Munford’s Vivica Zimmerman and Morgan Ashley.

Class 4A Area 8 Championship
Anniston 63, Handley 30
HANDLEY (13-12) –
ShyNia Patterson 3 0-1 6, TeNequa Rhodes 1 2-3 2, Alondra Veal 2 0-2 4, Brittany Badger 1 0-2 2, Danalee Waller 0 0-0 0, Amber Cofield 0 0-0 0, Anna Robinson 0 0-0 0, Destiny Green 1 0-0 2, Rene Broome 1 0-0 2, Myrical Heard 2 1-2 6, Tiara Williams 2 0-0 4. Totals 13 3-10 30.

ANNISTON (22-5) – Miajah Bullock 9 14-17 32, Carlina Welch 0 0-0 0, Viera Edmondson 1 0-0 2, Ladajah Williams 0 0-0 0, Keandra Finley 2 1-5 7, Amoriya Dudley 1 1-2 4, Jordyn Johnson 0 0-0 0, Monteiga Clemons 2 1-2 5, Tekyia Jackson 0 0-0 0, Kiana Montgomery 2 0-0 4, Toniah Foster 3 3-9 9. Totals 20 20-35 63.

Handley 10 2 12 6 — 30
Anniston 10 16 25 12 — 63

3-point goals: Handley 1 (Heard); Anniston 3 (Finley 2, Dudley). Fouled out: Broome. Total fouls: Handley 21, Anniston 13. Officials: Thomas, Howell, Kelley.

A swarming and active Anniston defense forced Handley into numerous turnovers. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

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

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