E.A. Sports Today

Finals rematch

Anniston, Sacred Heart to meet again in the Calhoun County girls tournament title game

Anniston’s Tiarra Thomas (23) and Asia Barclay (35) wrestle a rebound away from Oxford’s Amirea McLeod during Wednesday’s county tournament semifinal. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

All games at Pete Mathews Coliseum, Jacksonville
Girls bracket

Wednesday’s games
Anniston 61, Oxford 34
Sacred Heart 65, Alexandria 36
Friday’s game
Championship game, No. 1 Anniston vs. No. 2 Sacred Heart, 6 p.m.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
JACKSONVILLE – Anniston coach Eddie Bullock is always happy to be playing in the Calhoun County Tournament girls championship game, but he takes nothing for granted, even if the Lady Bulldogs’ appearance in the title game is as regular as rain in spring.

The Lady Bulldogs are back in the finals for the fourth year in a row and 12th time in the last 14 years after dispatching Oxford 61-34. They will face Sacred Heart in a rematch of last year’s title game after the second-seeded Lady Cardinals defeated Alexandria 65-36.

The title game is 6 p.m. Friday at Jacksonville State, a non-traditional finish after an equally non-traditional day off Thursday. Anniston won last year’s meeting — just like it’s done in 10 of the last 13 finals — 67-46.
“I’m just happy to be there, man,” Bullock said. “It’s an honor playing in it. It’s just great to be able to get back there. I’m really blessed.”
Sacred Heart coach Marcus Harrell knows it’s a big test for his 2A Lady Cardinals. Each of their first two games in the tournament have been close early before they got their bearings and pulled away in the second quarter.
In their position, they’d like to be the ones to keep it close early against an Anniston team that has beaten its two tournament opponents by an average of 36 points
“We’re definitely an underdog,” Harrell said. “We’re probably playing a Goliath. Honestly, they may be taller than Goliath, to be honest with you. We’re not very big, but the thing is, though, we’ve got a fighting chance and we’re going to come out swinging.”
For the second heavily favored tournament game in a row it took the Lady Bulldogs a little while to get settled, but once they did they were their usual dominating self.
They took the lead on 3-pointers by Airriana Colley, Allasha Dudley and Ladajah Williams before they ever got their bigs involved. From there they scored their next 10 points inside. It was part of an 18-3 run that produced a 27-9 lead early in the second quarter.
Dudley finished the game with 20 points, while the Lady Bulldogs’ two main post players, Kiana Montgomery and Asia Barclay, had 10 each. Barclay had 10 rebounds, Montgomery had seven and three blocked shots. 
Dudley also had four rebounds, six steals and two assists. She was looking forward to Thursday’s rare tournament open date to get more practice in before playing for the first of they hope are several tournament titles going forward.
“I think we’re supposed to get there so that’s what we’re all looking forward to, winning the (county) championship,” Dudley said. “But we’re got a big goal and it’s to win state, so this right here is kind of like practice for us to see where we’re at. “

Sacred Heart, meanwhile, jumped out to a 5-0 lead in its game before Alexandria jumped into a 1-3-1 zone and tightened things up considerably. 
The Lady Cardinals led only 12-8 after the first quarter. Myiah Harris picked things up in the second quarter, scoring nine points and leading an effort that produced a 21-point quarter abd 14-point halftime lead.
“The second quarter we just started feeling it,” Harris said. “These slow starts, we need to get out of it and get ready for Friday.”
The Lady Cubs cut the margin to 10 and Harrell started looking for someone to seize the day. Jordan Sabree scored eighth in the third quarter and Alisia Person had nine in the fourth quarter before the Lady Cardinals could rest easy.
“On our team you never know who’s going to step up, so we were waiting for that hot hand to get going,” Harrell said. “I challenged them. I told them they were all standing around waiting on somebody else to do it.
“I needed somebody to step up. I looked at my two senior leaders (Harris and Sabree) and said it needs to be one of you. Jordan Sabree took the game over. She just ramped up the intensity. They threw it to her in the corner, she drove base line and just tore ‘em up.”

Jordan Sabree (12) and Myiah Harris (2) were the two seniors Sacred Heart coach Marcus Harrell was looking at to get his girls going in the second half against Alexandria. (Photo by Dave Brandsma)

Anniston 61, Oxford 34
Justice Woods 1 0-0 2, Lauren Ellard 0 0-0 0, Lamya McRue 1 2-2 4, Kaleah Taylor 3 1-2 8, Lisa Montgomery 0 0-0 0, Ashleigh Jackson 1 0-0 2, Akiera Robinson 2 10-12 14, Amirea McLeod 1 2-2 4. Totals 9 15-18 34.
ANNISTON – Allasha Dudley 8 4-4 24, Ladajah Williams 1 0-0 3, Anna Garrett 0 0-0 0, Chariese Simmons 0 0-0 0, Jade Richardson 0 0-0 0, Olivia Pinson 0 0-0 0, Tiarra Thomas 2 0-0 4, Airriana Colley 2 0-0 5, Kiana Montgomery 5 2-5 12, Keyahra Williams 2 0-0 4, Asia Barclay 4 2-2 10, Jadah Crutcher 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 8-11 61.
Oxford                    9    6   8    11  –  34
Anniston                21  18 18  4    –  61
3-point goals: Oxford 1 (Taylor); Anniston 5 (Dudley 3, Williams, Colley). Total fouls: Oxford 10, Anniston 20. Officials: Corley, Zauchin, Hughes.
Sacred Heart 65, Alexandria 36
Ashley Phillips 3 1-1 8, Sarah Pelham 0 0-0 0, Kayleigh Steen 4 0-0 12, Kameron Simpson 3 1-1 7, Jordyn Walker 2 1-2 7, TyShica Woodgett 0 2-4 2, Chloe Gattis 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 5-8 36.
SACRED HEART – Alisia Person 6 0-3 13, Miyah Harris 9 0-3 20, Amiyah Buchanan 4 2-2 10, Taysia West 1 0-0 3, Jordan Sabree 6 1-2 13, Serena Hardy 3 1-2 7. Totals 29 4-12 65.
Alexandria            8    11 7    10   –  36
Sacred Heart        12  21 17  15  –   65
3-point goals: Alexandria 7 (Phillips, Steen 4, Walker 2); Sacred Heart 3 (Person, Harris 2). Total fouls: Alexandria 9, Sacred Heart 11. Officials: Burns, Williams, Bright.

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