E.A. Sports Today

Perry buries 3s

Daughter of Anniston hoops royalty finds aggression, shoots Lady Dawgs past Pleasant Valley and into Calhoun County tournament semifinals

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE Eddie Bullock recalls former Anniston standout Marcus Perry well, and the veteran Anniston girls’ coach knows Perry’s daughter has her dad’s aggression tucked inside her gentle soul.

Bullock is pulling that aggression out of A’Kayla Perry, 3-point shot by 3-point shot.

Pleasant Valley’s Macey Roper goes up for two of her 17 points during Tuesday’s Calhoun County quarterfinal against Anniston (Photo by Krista Larkin)

Her second-half eruption keyed her 19-point day and helped Anniston gain separation from scrappy Pleasant Valley in their Calhoun County quarterfinal Tuesday in Pete Mathews Coliseum, and the Bulldogs won 53-32.

Anniston (12-9) earned a return to the county semifinals and will play the Ohatchee-Jacksonville winner on Thursday at 4 p.m.

Bullock and the Bulldogs go forward knowing that their shooting ace has found her range in the big area.

“My team needed me to score, so I just got aggressive,” Perry said.

She hit four of her five 3-pointers in the second, three in her 11-point third quarter. Anniston turned a 17-9 halftime lead into a 34-18 spread going into the fourth quarter.

That looked familiar to Bullock, who remembers Marcus Perry’s play for Anniston’s 2002 state-championship team. Bullock is cultivating that edge in Perry’s daughter.

“She can shoot the cover off of the basketball, but she’s one of the nicest girls I’ve ever coached,” Bullock said. “Her daddy played on that 2002 state-championship team, and I’m trying to get her to have that fight he’s got.”

Perry lived in Nebraska before moving to Anniston, and Bullock said she’s adjusting to a “very different” style of play in the South. 

“It’s much faster and more aggressive, physical,” she said. “I know I’ve gotten better over the past three years.”

Then there’s the most visible element of her personality.

“She don’t care if she scores 19 or if she scores three,” Bullock said. “She wants to win, but I’m trying to get her to have that Allasha Dudley mentality in her, where she goes, ‘I’ve got to put it up.’”

It came out in a difference-making burst Tuesday.

Until Perry got going in the third quarter, Pleasant Valley (12-4) had scrapped and kept the scoring low. Macey Roper’s putback gave the Raiders a 7-6 lead near the end of the first quarter, and Ella Parris’ putback made it 9-8 to start the second.

Pleasant Valley didn’t score again until Kianna Hester’s 3-pointer early in the third quarter. Perry answered with a 3 to put Anniston up 24-12.

“We missed two big layups and shot 30 percent at the foul line in the first half, just sloppy on offense,” Pleasant Valley coach Colton Morris said. “In the second half, we knew he was going to try to get four (Perry’s jersey number) some looks. That’s his kid. 

“We talked about it at halftime, knowing where she’s at on the floor. We felt like we could play what we’ve been in and still find her, like we did in the first half. Well, we lost her three times early in the second half, and she hit every one of them.”

Roper led Pleasant Valley with 17 points, 13 in the second half and nine in the fourth quarter.

“She always plays hard,” Morris said of his high-scoring senior guard.

PLEASANT VALLEY – Macey Roper 5 7-9 17, Rebekah Gannaway 1 1-4 3, Kianna Hester 2 0-0 5, Laney Robinson 1 0-0 3, Haylie Lee 0 0-2 0, Ella Parris 1 0-2 2, Abby Parris 1 0-0 2. Totals 11 8-17 32.
ANNISTON – Layla Tyus 1 0-1 2, A’Kayla Perry 7 0-2 19, Ma’tasia Truss 2 0-0 4, Jada Fomby 4 1-1 9, Tykeria Smith 5 3-3 13, Kiara Thomas 1 2-2 4. Totals 21 6-9 53.

Pleasant Valley72914 —32
Faith Christian891719 —53

3-point goals: Pleasant Valley 2 (Hester 1, Robinson 1), Anniston 5 (Perry 5); Total fouls: Pleasant Valley 11, Anniston 16. Officials: Brown, Larkins, Hodge.

Cover photo: Anniston’s A’Kayla Perry (4) drives the basket against Pleasant Valley’s Macey Roper. (Photo by Krista Larkin)

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