E.A. Sports Today

Anniston’s road ends

Lady Bulldogs’ bid to get back to Birmingham ends with loss in regional semifinal

Anniston’s Keandra Finley brings the ball across midcourt to get the Lady Bulldogs’ offense started. (All photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – The way Anniston girls basketball coach Eddie Bullock saw it, Madison County “kind of played the perfect game” and his Lady Bulldogs didn’t quite play their game.

Madison County ended Anniston’s bid to make a fourth straight trip to the Final Four and finally a state title when the Lady Tigers found a way to finally solve the Lady Bulldogs 53-49 in the Class 4A Northeast Regional at Jacksonville State.

Anniston put Madison County out of the tournament the last two years and the Lady Tigers’ motivation from the time they left Pete Mathews Coliseum last year was to get back and get some payback.

Madison County used an 8-0 run at the start of the third quarter to break away from a 24-24 halftime tie and Anniston never really recovered. Still, the Lady Bulldogs won virtually every key statistic except free throws and the final score.

“We kind of let it slip away from us normally in our best quarter, which is the third quarter,” Bullock said. “We gave ourselves an opportunity, we played tough (but) we may have lost a little bit of focus (playing a familiar opponent) and it kind of got us right there.”

He blamed it on getting out of position in the box-and-one against Taylor Jennings and having other Lady Tigers score on them. Jennings scored 12 points, but Jasmine Baker was their leading scorer with 13 and two other players had nine each.

The Lady Bulldogs got within two on Miajah Bullock’s basket with 1:38 to play and again on Bullock’s layup with 1:12 left. They got it to 50-49 with 23.7 seconds left, but Baker hit two free throws with 19.9 to go to make it a three-point game.

Anniston had a shot to tie it, but Keandra Finley’s 3-pointer with 5.8 seconds left fell short. Baker then hit a free throw with four-tenths of a second left for the final margin.

“This is probably one of the most saddest moments in my life,” Miajah Bullock said tearfully.

Madison County started the game in a box-and-one on Bullock, but quickly switched when Finley got a hot hand in the first half. Finley hit three straight 3s between the first and second quarters to bring the Lady Bulldogs from a 12-7 deficit to an 18-15 lead.

Amoriya Dudley got hot later in the game and helped bring Anniston back.

Bullock led Anniston with 18 points. Dudley had 13 and Finley had 12.

Madison County 53, Anniston 49
Deleysia Huffman 4-7 1-1 9, Lindsey Pierce 3-7 0-0 9, Taylor Jennings 5-13 0-0 12, Jasmine Baker 3-7 7-10 13, Tatyana Smith 2-4 0-1 4, Megan Baggett 2-4 2-6 6, Brianna Houk 0-0 0-0 0, Sarah Wright 0-0 0-0 0, Addison Richards 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-43 10-18 53.

ANNISTON (23-6) – Miajah Bullock 7-15 4-8 18, Carlina Welch 1-3 0-0 2, Keandra Finley 4-10 1-4 12, Amoriya Dudley 5-12 0-0 13, Toniah Foster 2-3 0-2 4, Viera Edmondson 0-0 0-0 0, Jordyn Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Monteiga Clemons 0-3 0-0 0, Tekiya Jackson 0-0 0-0 0, Kiana Montgomery 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-46 5-14 49.

Madison County 12 12 17 12 — 53
Anniston 12 12 12 13 — 49

3-point goals: Madison County 5-17 (Pierce 3-5, Jennings 2-10, Baggett 0-1, Richards 0-1); Anniston 6-22 (Bullock 0-3, Finley 3-7, Dudley 3-10, Clemons 0-2). Rebounds: Madison County 29 (Baker 9); Anniston (Finley 8). Assists: Madison County 10 (Baker 5); Anniston 9 (Welch 7). Fouled out: Smith, Dudley. Total fouls: Madison County 14, Anniston 17. Officials: Tim Hatten, Jeff Paige, Randy Hays.

Anniston’s Miajah Bullock (3) gets airborne as he drives through the Madison County defense.

Cover photo by B.J. Franklin.

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