E.A. Sports Today

Seizing the moment

Anniston girls get back to Northeast Regional with win over Jacksonville, looking to reach Final Four for fourth year in a row

Anniston’s Miajah Bullock drives to the basket through the reach of Jacksonville’s Kyra Williams. On the cover, Anniston coach Eddie Bulldogs and the Lady Bulldogs get excited about their win. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Monday’s girls subregion scores
Anniston 51, Jacksonville 39
Arab 68, Alexandria 19
Brewer 55, Oxford 41
Coosa Christian 71, JCA 45
Glencoe 51, Weaver 42
Wellborn 50, Piedmont 41

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Miajah Bullock got clobbered in front of the Anniston bench with about 10 seconds left in the game. Her reaction: Clapping vigorously as she walked to the free throw line.

About the same time, Eddie Bullock was getting excited, too. He turned to the crowd and started whipping it into frenzy.

Both uncle and niece had their motivations to be happy with Anniston’s 51-39 Class 4A sub-region victory over Jacksonville.

For Miajah, it was beating a team she once played for against players who once challenged her ability to play. She scored 20 points on them and was the key in every important stretch of the game.

She went to Jacksonville schools through the eighth grade, then moved to Anniston to play for her uncle.

“It’s a great win for us, not only for me, but I feel pretty good about it because I know some of those girls were the same ones I was coming off the bench (for),” Miajah said. “They wouldn’t give me a chance to play. I was bench riding while all of them were playing and I knew I had the potential they had.

“So once I got down here I pretty much made a commitment to myself that if we ever crossed with Jacksonville we were going to beat them. It was just something in my heart I wanted to go beat them so bad. I know they want to beat us just as bad, so I had to come just as hard as they were coming.”

Miajah brought it late in the second quarter when she scored three straight baskets to give the Lady Bulldogs (23-5) a 27-14 lead. And she brought it again at the start of the fourth quarter when she converted her two steals into baskets for a 44-31 lead.

For Eddie Bullock, the excitement came from seeing his team “seize the moment” and take another step towards reaching its full potential of making it to the Final Four four years in a row.

“This is the first group that I had that has the potential to go to the Final Four four years in a row,” Bullock said. “I don’t think a girls team in the county has ever done that; I don’t know any that’s been three times, not in our county. That’s pretty amazing.

“They need to understand the magnitude of what they have accomplished, but I didn’t want them to come in tonight and take one night off. We’re at the part of the season where you’re one and done; you take one night off you get beat. I wanted them to be able to cherish that moment and everything they’ve got and understand there’s not a whole lot of male teams that have accomplished what they have accomplished and just seize the moment. Enjoy it.”

The Lady Bulldogs will now play the Madison County at noon in the Feb. 20 Northeast Regional 4A semifinal at Jacksonville State.

The trouble with playing the Lady Bulldogs is teams have to be so precise against them. You have to protect the basketball and if you don’t make shots you have to rebound.

It sounds simple enough, but the Lady Bulldogs won’t let you do it. They didn’t do it all the time – and that got under Eddie Bullock’s skin – but In the segments of the game they were extending the lead they were creating turnovers, converting them into transition baskets and clearing the boards to activate the offense.

That’s how they built a 27-14 second-quarter lead and opened the third and fourth quarters with quick strikes to pull away after the Lady Golden Eagles got close.

“If you make one mistake, they make you pay,” Jacksonville coach Tres Buzan said. “When we turned it over, they got layups. I thought defensively in the half-court we were good enough to win the game, but when we made a mistake they made us pay for it, and when they get multiple shots in a possession they’re gonna score eventually, so you have to rebound the first one.

“They play so fast, you’re down seven and then you blink and all ofa sudden youre down 12. We knew we had to take care of the basketball otherwise we knew we’d get beat. You can’t turn it over and beat these guys.”

Anniston 51, Jacksonville 39
Aniyah Robinson 6-14 0-0 12, Kyra Williams 5-15 0-1 11, Aniya Jefferson 4-6 0-2 8, Sierra Stone 2-4 0-0 4, Kayla Broom 1-2 2-3 4, Tatiyana Thomas 0-3 0-2 0, Essence Hutchinson 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 18-47 2-8 39.

ANNISTON (23-5) – Miajah Bullock 8-15 4-6 20, Amoriya Dudley 4-9 1-1 10, Toniah Foster 3-6 1-2 7, Keandra Finley 2-7 2-2 6, Carlina Welch 2-2 1-2 5, Tekyia Jackson 1-4 0-0 2, Monteiga Clemons 0-0 1-2 1, Viera Edmondson 0-1 0-0 0, Jordyn Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Kiana Montgomery 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-44 10-15 51.

Jacksonville 6 15 10 8 — 39
Anniston 12 15 10 14 — 51

3-point goals: Jacksonville 1-11 (Robinson 0-5, Williams 1-3, Thomas 0-2, Hutchinson 0-1); Anniston 1-12 (Bullock 0-1, Dudley 1-5, Foster 0-1, Finley 0-4, Edmondson 0-1). Rebounds: Jacksonville 34 (Stone 11); Anniston 26 (Bullock 6). Fouled out: Williams. Total fouls: Jacksonville 16, Anniston 10. Officials: Burks, Moon, Musslewhite, Lalonde (clock).

Carlina Welch (10) moves in to disrupt Kyra Williams’ drive to the basket. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

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