E.A. Sports Today

Good start

Anniston’s new-look boys play small ball and beat 7A Spain Park; girls drop their season opener on a pair of late free throws
 
By East Alabama Sports Today

HOOVER –Torry Brown can’t remember a time during his coaching career when he didn’t have the luxury of height on his roster. That’s what’s going to make this season so interesting for the Anniston basketball coach.
 
But being small has its advantages, too. The Bulldogs may be the smallest they’ve been in recent memory, and they still had some players committed to football, but they were quick, defended and held their own on the glass while opening the season with a 56-45 win at Class 7A Spain Park Thursday night.
 
“This is a different bunch,” Brown said. “The thing I was most interested in was I’ve never played small. I’ve always played two posts and we played more inside out. This is the first time we’ve played small and I wanted to see how we performed in a different way, a different style than we have done.
 
“They played really well. I was worried if we could handle the defensive glass and we competed. We competed enough on the glass to offset some of the other things.”
 
One thing that didn’t change was the play of guard Antonio Kite. Last year’s best freshman in the county who will be this year’s best sophomore led the Bulldogs with 23 points. He hit four 3-pointers and was 6-for-8 from the free throw line. 
 
“He’s a lot better this year than he was last year and a lot of that simply is he has a different mindset,” Brown said. “He played really competitive ball on the Nike circuit this summer and he’s grown so much. He’s got a stronger mindset now. He’s a much better player.”
 
Kwame Milton added 13 points. Malcolm Harvey, the Bulldogs’ tallest regular at 6-foot-5, blocked several shots and had three dunks that Brown called “momentum changing.” The coach also praised the contributions of senior guard Tahj Jones and sophomore Mark Toyer.
 
The Bulldogs are opening their season with three straight road games. They got to Shelby County and Hoover next week.
 
Anniston          16       9       12       19        –          56
Spain Park      10        10     13       12        –          45


Spain Park girls 56, Anniston 55: The Lady Jags hit the last two free throws of the game after Airranna Colley hit a 3-pointer to give Anniston a 55-54 lead. The Lady Bulldogs rallied from eight down early in the second half and five in the fourth quarter to take the lead.
 
Anniston’s Allasha Dudley led all scorers with 30 points, including four 3-pointers. Sarah Ashlee Barker led Spain Park with 24 points. The Lady Bulldogs led by seven at one point in the first half, but Katie Flannery’s 3-point gave the Lady Jags a 30-27 halftime lead.
 
Anniston          11        16        13       15        –          55
Spain Park      11        19        13        13        –          56

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