E.A. Sports Today

Dudley Duo right

Top-seeded Anniston faces Oxford after reaching Calhoun County Girls Tournament final for seventh time in eight years

Sisters Allasha (center) and Amoriya Dudley chase down Piedmont’s Kaitlyn Ridley. The Dudleys played a big role for Anniston in the second half. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Saturday’s semifinals
Anniston 61, Piedmont 36
Oxford 43, Jacksonville 41

Monday’s game
(at Jacksonville State)

Championship: No. 1 Anniston vs. No. 3 Oxford, 6 p.m.

To see a gallery of photos from the girls semifinals visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — Eddie Bullock admitted he was worried when the Lady Dawgs’ Calhoun County Tournament semifinal with Piedmont was tight in the third quarter.

Something had to happen quickly, the Anniston girls basketball coach thought, or this year’s tournament experience might be over sooner than they’d like. That’s when the Dudley Duo took over and the Dudleys did right.

Freshman Allasha Dudley and her senior sister Amoriya combined for 21 in a 26-2 Anniston run that carried the Lady Dawgs to a 61-36 victory and into the tournament finals.

“This is the first year they actually played together,” Bullock said. “Allasha, we got a few people hurt and lost a couple people, but she worked her butt off and got on the varsity. She’s gotten an opportunity and she’s taken advantage of it.”

The trip to the finals will be Anniston’s seventh in the last eight years and 10th in the last 12. They’ve won eight of the last 11 tournament titles and 17 overall.

They will play third-seeded Oxford Monday at 6 p.m. The Yellow Jackets were in the final as recently as two years ago.

Allasha Dudley led Anniston with 21 points, hitting five 3-pointers – all off the bench. Amoriya had 14 — 13 in the fourth quarter after Piedmont switched its defensive focus to Allasha.

It was 30-29 after a 9-0 Piedmont rally when Allasha buried a 3 with 2:45 left to set off Anniston’s big run. The only players not named Dudley to score in the run were Kiara Montgomery and Jordyn Johnson. The spree ended when Sydney Prater hit a 3 for Piedmont with 4:32 left in the game. By then it was 56-34.

“We were about to lose, and basically I got worried,” Bullock said. “I was like if we don’t do something about it we’re fixin’ to get our butt kicked.”

What shouldn’t be overlooked in all the Dudleys did was the play of Montgomery and Johnson. Montgomery had eight points (two in the big run), but she also had eight rebounds and nine blocked shots; she blocked two right before the big run started to keep it a one-point game and four altogether in the big run. Johnson had eight assists and did a job on Piedmont shooter Kayley Kirk when Anniston switched defenses.

Oxford back in the finals

Oxford’s bench erupts after the Lady Jackets put the finishing touches on their semifinal win over Jacksonville.

The Oxford girls won their game over Jacksonville by playing with confidence and hitting free throws down the stretch, but they actually set the wheels for it in motion at the end of their shootaround earlier in the day.

That’s when Akiera Robinson felt confident enough to ask coach Melissa Bennett to go over a piece of defense they had talked about earlier in practice. It’s a set the Lady Jackets wound up using in several key moments of the game to turn back second-seeded Jacksonville 43-41.

They now play top-seeded Anniston in Monday’s 6 p.m. girls championship game, but it might not have happened if that question about defense never got asked.

“We talked in the shoot-around today and gave time for questions,” Bennett said. “I told them sometimes we struggle picking up on things. I said you have to be extremely confident. If you’re extremely confident with what we’re doing we’re going to be just fine, but if you don’t play to your potential it’s going to be ugly real quick.

“Akiera asked to go back over one of the defensive schemes we were running and that was huge. We actually stayed over our time, but that’s what it’s about. If you don’t get something ask the question because if not you’re not letting me down you’re letting your teammates down. That was huge. It gave her clarity and she played her tail off.”

The Lady Jackets jumped “in and out” of the defense in question throughout the game, but they went to it after Jacksonville star Kyra Williams fouled out with 4:49 to play and Oxford up by three. Ironically, it was Robinson who drew the foul away from the ball.

The game was close throughout, but senior Makayla Kidd played a big role in keeping the Lady Jackets out front.

Essence Hutchinson’s 3-pointer gave Jacksonville a 28-27 lead early in the third quarter, then Kidd scored nine of Oxford’s next 12 points to put the Lady Jackets back in front. She later hit the free throw that gave them a 43-40 lead with 17.8 seconds left and finished with a game-high 13 points.

“It was really intense, my heart was really beating,” Kidd said. “I had to do this for my team – they’re depending on me. I was tired, but my coach told me she needed me. I pushed through to the end and we won.”

Once the Lady Jackets got the lead they never lost it although Jacksonville tied it at 40 with 1:28 to play and got the ball with a chance to go ahead after an offensive foul. Then Bennett called him, preached confidence, and the Lady Jackets saw it through.

“We said we’ve been working on this in practice for this reason,” Bennett said. “You guys know what to do and how to do it, let’s do it.”

Hutchinson missed a go-ahead 3-pointer off the side of the glass but somehow the rebound fell out of bounds back to Jacksonville with 47.5 seconds left. Patience Carr was fouled on the inbounds play. She missed both free throws, but there was an Oxford violation on the second, so she got a do-over and missed again.

Justyce Smith got the rebound and fed Tremeria Bitt, who was fouled and made both free throws to make it 42-40. Jacksonville missed another shot in the lane and this time fouled Kidd with 17.8 seconds to go. She made one of the free throws to make it 43-40.

The Lady Golden Eagles still had a shot to tie it, but Carr missed the potential tying 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left. She followed the shot and was fouled, but it was too little too late.

“We felt like if we played to our potential we definitely felt like we could go the distance,” Bennett said. “We tried to make it interesting, but we kept our composure. Everybody did something good.”

Akiera Robinson (21) asked the key question that spurred Oxford to its victory over Jacksonville.


Anniston 61, Piedmont 36
Kayley Kirk 3 0-0 9, Lele Ridley 3 0-0 6, Kaitlyn Ridley 2 3-5 7, Pinky Nation 2 0-0 4, Camron Logan 0 0-0 0, Cassidy Jackson 0 0-0 0, Zahayla Walker 0 0-4 0, Aliyah Teague 0 0-0 0, Sydney Prater 3 3-4 10, Kiara Jackson 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 3-6 36.

ANNISTON – Allasha Dudley 8 0-0 21, Measia Kelley 0 0-0 0, Anna Garrett 0 0-0 0, Viera Edmondson 0 0-0 0, Ladajah Williams 0 0-0 0, Amoriya Dudley 3 6-9 14, Jordyn Johnson 1 1-2 3, Montiega Clemons 3 0-0 6, Arianna Lolley 0 0-0 0, Tekyia Jackson 0 0-0 0, Kiara Montgomery 4 1-2 9, Toriah Foster 3 2-3 8. Totals 22 10-16 61.

Piedmont 13 7 11 5 — 36
Anniston 15 15 12 19 — 61

3-point goals: Piedmont 4 (Kirk 3, Prater); Anniston 7 (Al. Dudley 5, Am. Dudley 2). Total fouls: Piedmont 15, Anniston 14.

Oxford 43, Jacksonville 41
Makayla Kidd 5-13 3-6 13, Justyce Smith 4-9 3-8 11, Ashleigh Jackson 3-6 2-3 8, Kaylyn Hendrix 2-2 1-1 5, Tremeria Britt 0-11 4-4 4, Anna Bolton 1-2 0-0 2, Akiera Robinson 0-0 0-3 0, JaMyia Byrd 0-0 0-0 0, Aumaria Lindsey 0-1 0-0 0, Halaya Harmon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-44 13-25 43.

JACKSONVILLE – Kyra Williams 3-11 5-7 11, Kayla Broom 4-12 1-2 9, Essence Hutchinson 2-11 1-2 7, Brenna Stone 2-5 0-0 4, Elizabeth Poe 2-3 0-0 4, Patience Carr 2-6 0-4 4, Maddie Hall 1-5 0-0 2, Malijah Goggins 0-0 0-0 0, TiAsia Williams 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-53 7-15 41.

Oxford 14 11 8 10 — 43
Jacksonville 9 14 8 10 — 41

3-point goals: Oxford 0-6 (Kid 0-2. Britt 0-4); Jacksonville 2-21 (K. Williams 0-5, Broom 0-4, Hutchinson 2-10, Carr 0-2). Rebounds: Oxford 39 (Smith 7, Jackson 7); Jacksonville 38 (Broom 9, Stone 8). Fouled out: K. Williams, Poe. Total fouls: Oxford 13, Jacksonville 20.

Makayla Kidd leads Oxford on the break and to victory over Jacksonville in the Calhoun County Tournament semifinals.

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