Bulldogs chomp Eagles

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Andalusia’s Quayshaun Denson (31) scored 21 points to help lift his team over Calera on Saturday night. Denson is shown here dribbling around Calera’s Deondre Haynes (4). | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Andalusia got a good start on Saturday night, striking out to a 32-16 lead after the first period, and held on late in the contest to earn a 93-85 regular season victory over the Eagles at AHS.

Saturday night’s victory improves second-ranked Andalusia’s overall record to 22-2. The Bulldogs will to face Headland tonight in their last regular season area contest to vie for the No. 1 seed going into the area tournament.

Despite the win, AHS boys coach Richard Robertson said his team allowed Calera back in the game after taking the big first period lead.

“It wasn’t pretty, and we’re erratic,” Robertson said. “I’ve been telling them the whole time that one day, it’s going to cost us. We had sloppy ball handling and bad decisions — the same thing I’ve been fussing about all year.”

Andalusia strolled out to an early 8-0 lead in the opening period on a pair of steals and inside passes for easy buckets.

The Bulldogs took leads of 14-8, 20-10, 26-10 and 30-16 during the first period.

However, Calera bounced back in the second period, outscoring Andalusia 17-9.

“I knew they were coming back,” Robertson said about the second period. “They got one (Deondre Haynes) we don’t have an answer for. He’s a Division 1 basketball player, and I knew that. A lot of people are going to be out, and he knows the game.”

Later in the victory, Calera had all the momentum leaning its way in the fourth period, but a pair of technical fouls doused all hopes for a win.

Calera’s Jeremy Hyde and head boys coach Robert Burdette were given the fouls one after the other, respectively.

Andalusia had four free-throws because of the fouls, but only shot 2-of-4 when Derrick King and Justin Dooley went to the line.

From then on out, the Bulldogs took over, making crucial free-throws, shooting 16-of-22 from the line.

But on the night, King and Quayshaun Denson had excellent games from the line. King was 11-of-14, and Denson was 5-of-6.

King kept getting fouled late in the fourth, and helped his team take the go-ahead lead and win over the Eagles. King finished with 13 points.

Leading up to the technical fouls, Andalusia and Calera stayed evenly matched on offense.

The game was tied 63-63 early in the fourth period, and Andalusia’s defensive pressure got to the Eagles, forcing steals and turnovers that were converted into easy buckets for the Bulldogs.

In the third period and during the fourth, Haynes, who led the Eagles with 28 points, kept his team within reach of the lead slamming key dunks. The Eagles’ first and only lead of the game came on a steal lay up by Haynes in the third period.

Then, trailing 57-54 in the third, Hyde nailed a tres, and was fouled at the perimeter to make a four-point play, and tied the game at 57 apiece at the end of the third.

Hyde and Titus Adams scored 18 points each for Calera.

Burdette said the difference in the game for his team’s loss was Andalusia’s good first period play.

“There were a lot of things you could point to, but I think the biggest thing was giving up 32 (points) in the first quarter,” Burdette said. “When you dig yourself a hole like that, it’s hard to get out of it.

“We got out of it, and had opportunities,” he said. “They made some plays and we didn’t make some plays.”

Denson led the Bulldogs with 21 points and seven assists, and Corinthian Sims had 20 points and nine rebounds. Additionally, Victor Benson scored 15 points, and Jacard Townsend contributed with 12 points. King led in steals with five.

In varsity girls action, Andalusia beat Calera, 55-33.

The Lady Bulldogs led 20-6 after the first period, 33-12 at half time and 48-22 after the third period.

The second string players played two-thirds of the game Saturday night, which gave them plenty of playing time, AHS girls coach Bennie Shellhouse said.

“They held their own against their starting crew, so that’s good for us,” Shellhouse said.

Alexis Horton led the Lady Bulldogs with 14 points. Keona Hunter and Asia Gantt added nine points each. Shi’Amber Townsend and Latrexius Trawick contributed with seven points each.

Jocelyn Davis led Calera with 12 points, and Kayla Brown had 11 points.