E.A. Sports Today

Breather they needed

After back-to-back nail biters, Anniston has an easy one at Munford, Anniston girls win easily, too

Hezekiah Harris (24) and Jace Roberson (10) listen intently in the Anniston huddle during a time out Wednesday. They made big contributions in significant minutes during the Bulldogs’ blowout win over Munford.

Anniston 57, Munford 20
Anniston 62, Munford 11

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

MUNFORD – After going through the grinder that has been their early-season schedule, the Anniston Bulldogs needed a game like this.

After back-to-back nailbiters each of the previous two nights, the Bulldogs had an easy time of it Wednesday, overwhelming undermanned Munford 57-20 for their fifth straight win. The Anniston girls just as easy a time in their game, shutting out the Lady Lions in the first quarter on the way to a 62-11 victory.

It was the boys’ fifth game in seven days and sixth game in 10 days. Luckily, coach Torry Brown is giving them Thursday completely off as the gym is being prepared for the school’s fall sports banquet before the stretch concludes Friday with the completion of their first half of area play against Talladega.

“The gym floor is covered, so they knew (they’d be off), but we need a day off,” Brown said. “Friday is going to give us Game 7 in 11 days, so we need the day off.

“It’s good when everybody can get in and everybody can contribute. Anytime you’ve played really, really tough games everybody doesn’t get to play as much, so to come back and have a game where everybody can get a chance to play was good. It was the right time.”

The only days the Bulldogs didn’t play in this current seven-day stretch was Saturday and Sunday. In the first two days this week, they pulled out wins over area rival Handley (by three) and county rival White Plains (by two) in games that went down to their opponents playing the final shot.

There was no such drama Wednesday. The Bulldogs took control with a 28-0 run that stretched across the first and second quarters and held the Lions without a field goal from the time Javion White gave them a 4-2 lead early in the first quarter until his layup off a crisp pass from Alex Petty with 5:16 left in the third.

By then, the score was 44-8. The Lions were without leading scorer Sylvester Smith (preparing for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game) and their regular point guard (flu).

“We needed something like this, a little rest, to get better in our craft and make sure we do stuff that we work on coming up for Talladega on Friday,” guard Jayden Lewis said. “I’m happy for the team. Everybody played 100 percent. That’s what we’ve been talking about the most, everybody contributing in their way to the team, and that’s good.”

Nine of the 11 Bulldogs who got in the game scored. Jace Roberson and Hezekiah Harris were among those who got some extended minutes because of the blowout and excelled in them.

Roberson, the son of Bulldogs assistant coach Robert Roberson, hit three 3-pointers in the middle two quarters and was Anniston’s leading scorer with 10 points. Harris provided a strong complement to Javen Croft and had six points, four rebounds and four blocked shots.

“I think I did all right,” Harris said.

Croft, the most active of the Bulldogs’ bigs, had eight points, seven rebounds, five blocked shots and three steals.

“Hezekiah is going to be really, really good,” Brown said. “And he’s still learning, because we only had for a week maybe in June and after football season. He just hasn’t had enough practice to learn what we’ve been doing and we’re playing so many games right now to where he’s just got to get it in. But as soon as he learns what to do, he’s going to be really dominant.”

Brown has learned a lot about his team in the compressed schedule they’ve played. He said it was “night and day” different now than it was in a woeful season-opening loss to Childersburg.

“We’re totally different because now the kids have a feel for it, but I have a feel for this bunch now,” he said. “Before, going into the first game, I thought we would be one way and we’re not that way, so now that I know what button to push … we’re a lot better.”

The Anniston girls, meanwhile, were as sharp as they’ve been all season. They held a young Lady Lions team to only three shots in the first quarter, scoreless for the first 10 minutes, 15 seconds, and to only one field goal in the first 14 minutes of the game.

They shut out White Plains in the third quarter of their game Tuesday night.

“Still, offensively we weren’t getting the movement that we needed, but we were pretty sharp,” Lady Bulldogs coach Eddie Bullock said. “Kayla (Perry) was pretty hot today; I like that. That’s what we’ve got to have, really trying to get them ready for when CeCe gets back. For the most part they did a good job.”

Perry hit three 3-pointers in the 26-0 first quarter and led the Lady Bulldogs with 19 points. Layla Tyus and Tykeria Smith had 13 apiece.


ANNISTON (5-1) – Jacory Lane 4 0-0 8, Kyron Brown 1 2-2 4, Jayden Lewis 3 2-4 9, Isaiah Allen 1 0-1 2, Jace Roberson 3 1-2 10, Javen Croft 4 0-0 8, Malik Bailey 2 2-3 7, Delroy Francis 0 0-3 0, Jamarius Billingsley 1 1-4 3, Hezekiah Harris 3 0-0 6. Totals 22 8-18 57.
MUNFORD – Demetrius Norwood 0 1-2 1, Keyshawn Castleberry 1 0-0 2, Tanner Smith 0 0-0 0, Alex Petty 2 0-0 4, Cam Strickland 0 0-0 0, Lathan Stephens 0 1-4 1, Austin Wynn 0 0-0 0, Kelby Tucker 1 0-0 2, Javion White 5 0-0 10. Totals 9 2-6 20. 

Anniston           17        18        17        5 –       57
Munford            4          1         11        4 –       20
3-point goals: Anniston 5 (Lewis, Roberson 3, Bailey). Rebounds: Anniston 29 (Croft 7, Francis 4, Harris 4); Munford 12 (Stephens 4). Total fouls: Anniston 8, Munford 14. Officials: Whiteside, Tillery, Avery.


ANNISTON – Layla Tyus 5 3-4 13, A’Kayla Perry 7 2-4 19, Jill Borgand 0 0-2 0, Saniyah Spinks 0 0-0 0, Jada Fomby 3 1-2 7, Jeneyzia Oliver 1 0-2 3, Jenaya Watters 1 0-0 2, Z’kiyah Spinks 1 0-0 2, Eleah McCoy 1 0-0 3, Tykeria Smith 4 5-7 13,  Kiara Thomas 0 0-0 0, Tamika Foster 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 11-19 62.
MUNFORD – Jamya Sistrunk 0 0-0 0, Bre Hailes 1 0-0 2, Autumn Castleberry 0 0-0 0, Alys Mosley 0 0-0, Jariyah Gladden 0 0-0 0, Fantaza Calhoun 0 0-0 0, Laina Quarles 0 0-0 0, Taylor Sutton 0 0-0 0, Lauryn Brewster 1 0-0 2, Ashtyn Bishop 0 0-0 0, Faith Jacobs 0 2-2 0, Amari Carlisle 2 0-0 5. Totals 4 2-2 11.

Anniston           26        17        13        6 –      62
Munford            0          7          2        2 –       11
3-point goals: Anniston 5 (Perry 3, Oliver, McCoy); Munford 1 (Carlisle). Total fouls: Anniston 9, Munford 12. Officials: Whiteside, Tillery, Avery.

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