E.A. Sports Today

A happy place

Oxford’s Bolton finds her shooting touch in a comfortable venue, goes for 21 at Glencoe; Shuler has career day for Ohatchee

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

GLENCOE – Anna Bolton has been going to the Glencoe Holiday Shootout with the Oxford girls basketball team for four years now. At least once each year she has a breakout game.

The Lady Jackets’ senior shooter was running out of time to keep the trend going this year, but she saved her best for last. She poured in 21 points to tie her career high and lead the Lady Jackets to a 53-45 win over Oneonta.

“I guess it was just realizing we need a team win,” Bolton said. “I was off yesterday and knew I had to step it up today.”

She certainly was in the right venue to do it. There’s just something about this place that brings out the best in her. She set her career high here last year when she went for 21 against Alexandria. The year before she established it with 18 against White Plains. It should be noted she also broke her nose on this floor as a freshman.

“Maybe it is some mojo for her in this tournament; she likes that court,” Oxford coach Melissa Bennett said.

“I guess I’ve gotten comfortable the last few years playing there,” Bolton agreed.

Bolton hit four 3-pointers in the game, one more than she had against the Lady Cubs in her 21-point game last year.

“This was big for her confidence,” Bennett said. “She hasn’t been shooting well from the floor and last night Glencoe ran a triangle-and-2 on us against (Makayla) Kidd and Trem (Britt), so this was really good to get that confidence and see that ball go through the net. It’ll definitely be a good building block for her and hopefully some momentum to boot.”

The Lady Jackets got a lot of good performances in Saturday’s game, particularly from their role-playing reserves.

JaMyia Byrd came off the bench to provide some intense defensive energy and Mari Lindsey was a beast on the board.

The Lady Jackets never trailed in the game. Bolton hit three of her 3-pointers in the second quarter and had 11 points in the first half as they went up 30-24 at the break. They led by 11 going into the fourth quarter.

“We had some good carryover,” Bennett said. “We talked before the game about it being a mental toughness day. With three back-to-back games in a tournament your legs are dead and it becomes a ‘will’ thing. We talked about how it’s a suck-it-up thing. We talked about how today is the difference in a winning record going into this little lull in the schedule and a losing record.”

The Lady Jackets don’t play again until Jan. 12 when they play Pell City in an area game right before the start of the County Tournament.

Boaz 60, Ohatchee 39: Kourtney Shuler kept Ohatchee in the game with seven 3-pointers and 21 points – both career highs – but the Lady Pirates started hitting shots in the fourth quarter and pulled away. Sarah Clontz scored eight of her team-high 13 points in the fourth quarter for Boaz.

Shuler hit three 3s in the first quarter. The fast start gave her the sense it was going to be a good day and a welcomed changed from some recent shooting woes.

“My shot hasn’t been feeling that good here lately, for about the past three games, but today it felt nice and real smooth,” she said. “The first three I shot they were in so I knew it was going to be a pretty good shooting day. When you go 0-and-3 you start thinking about it a lot more and you can’t really play good, but when you’re hitting them you get that confidence and my teammates bring that out in me and vice versa.”

Cedar Bluff 70, Wellborn 64: Alexis Smith scored 11 of her 15 points in the second and third quarters as the Cedar Bluff erased an early deficit to beat the Lady Panthers. Matison Bedwell had 18 for the Lady Tigers, 10 in the middle two quarters.

Wellborn put three scorers in double figures and got within five late in the fourth quarter but ran out of time. Vanessa Carter led all scorers with 22 points. Katessa Carter had 16 and Itiania Weatherlyadded 15.

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