E.A. Sports Today

The hair has it

County Tournament notebook: Anniston guard most colorful player on the floor with an array of wigs that reflect her mood and approach to the game; ticket and fan voting updates

Anniston’s Kiara Thomas and her green wig wait on the baseline for a potential rebound from teammate Layla Tyus’ layup Tuesday. On the cover, Thomas prepares to put the ball in play.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – Kiara Thomas is a true rainbow basketball warrior, or rainbow bulldog, if you will.

The Anniston sophomore guard is the easiest player to spot on the court these days. She’s certainly the most colorful, with her array of colored wigs that reflect her personality and approach to the game.

Anniston’s Kiara Thomas (34) applies pressure to Pleasant Valley’s Rebekah Gannaway. (Photo by Hunter Bridges)

“It represents me, I’m very colorful and fun, so I want to be on the court and enjoy myself,” she said.

For the Lady Dawgs’ Calhoun County Tournament opener against Pleasant Valley Tuesday – and for the rest of their stay in the tournament – Thomas was sporting a neon green number. There’s a reason for it.

“Green means go,” she said. “My team’s on go.”

It certainly was on the move Tuesday, beating the Lady Raiders 53-32 to reach the semifinals. Thomas had four points.

But green is not the only color she has. There are red, blue, pink, purple and burgundy wigs. She keeps them at home, but wears them to school and has worn them all on the court at some point in the season. Her natural hair is brown (right now) and currently in cornrows in case the wig isn’t appropriate.

“It’s very fun,” she said. “People say on the court they see me out of everybody. I like to be noticeable.”

There’s no doubt about that. The green one she wore Tuesday was so bright, the lights could have gone out in the coliseum during her game and you’d still be able to find her.

Thomas isn’t the only one of the Lady Dawgs to express herself in living color. Tykeria Smith played Tuesday’s game with pink braids and Jenayzia Oliver looked like she dipped her ends in the same green dye as Thomas’ wig. And then there’s Jayda Fomby, whose teased out light brown ‘do would have put Oscar Gamble to shame.

And just what does head coach Eddie Bullock, a man with nary a wisp of hair on his head, think of the different color schemes?

“This new generation, I let them do what they do,” he said. “I’m old school, but I try to adapt to new school, so I try to not be so hard. I kind of let them have their own individuality.”

Does he have a favorite among the styles his players showed?

“My favorite style is black – the black bouf, like Allasha Dudley used to have,” he said.

HOT TICKET: Tournament officials report they have some nearly 2,500 tickets in the first three days of the tournament with the crowds growing each day.

“We are excited about the crowd size and enthusiasm of those who have been here,” host principal Andy Carpenter of Wellborn said. “We look forward to the crowd growing each day, building to what is sure to be a packed house for the finals.”

The tournament wraps up quarterfinals play Wednesday with the semifinal set for Thursday and the championship games Friday.

Tickets can be purchased through the GoFan app.

FAN FAVORITES: Ohatchee’s Jorda Crook and Kelbe Crook are the leading vote-getters in their respective races so far for the F&M Bank Half-Court Shot Friday night.
Jorda leads the girls poll with 706 votes, while Kelbe leads the boys balloting with 582. Jorda is currently among the top 40 all-time leading girls scorers in the state with more than 2,500 career points. Kelbe is one of the Indians’ top threats.

The boy and girl with the most votes will receive a $500 scholarship from the bank. The overall winner also will take a half-court shot for a chance to win $10,000 split between the school and the player.

Voting continues at the Farmers & Merchants Bank facebook page. The winner will be announced Thursday. 

Joe Medley contributed to this report.

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