Bulldogs bested

Published 12:02 am Saturday, February 8, 2014

Andalusia's Jayden Ellison drives the court Friday night. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Andalusia’s Jayden Ellison drives the court Friday night. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Hillcrest-Evergreen beats AHS boys 62-51; girls fall

EVERGREEN — Andalusia gave a great effort Friday night, but fell short in a 62-51 loss to Hillcrest-Evergreen in the Class 4A, Area 2 tournament semifinals.

The Bulldogs and Jaguars went back and forth early in the first period. AHS came out in the second and started missing shots as HHS took advantage to take a 29-18 lead at halftime.

Bouncing back a little in the third period, AHS only trailed 44-36 going into the fourth, where it gave its greatest effort of the night to cut right into Hillcrest’s lead by three at 52-49.

As their opponents do when it matters, the Jaguars pulled away late by hitting clutch free throws down the stretch.

Bulldogs coach Richard Robertson said he was proud of how they fought until the end.

“We had a lot to overcome, but they fought to the end,” Robertson said. “We got everybody we started with except for a couple. These here stayed the course and gave all they could.”

Robertson said as the season went along, the guys got better.

“We made a lot of improvement,” he said. “I felt like if we could’ve won a few earlier, then we would’ve made it a whole lot different (in the end). We played good folks and we’ll continue to play good folks.”

Andalusia senior Phillip James sparked the Bulldogs early after grabbing a rebound and making a putback off of teammate Jayden Ellison’s rare free throw miss with 5:35 in the first period. The putback was the first recorded points for the game.

Hillcrest’s Keyshawn Roach got a drive and Christopher Salter made a floater for an early 4-3 lead.

Kendarius Townsend drove the lane, and after a turnover based off of Andalusia’s 2-1-2 defense, Ellison found James in the paint for a bucket and the Bulldogs led 7-4.

Physically bigger than AHS, the Jaguars took advantage and dominated the boards, getting crucial tip ins and putbacks.

Roach got an old fashioned 3-point play to tie the game at 9-9, and LaQuienton Prince made a putback dunk that all but secured the lead for the Jags. HHS led 13-9 going into the second period.

Shots didn’t come for Andalusia in the second period as Robertson called it the team’s “down fall.”

The Jaguars came out hot on Michael Bradley’s 3-pointer, and later led 23-12 on Jahod Booker’s jumper with 4:32 left in the first half.

What also didn’t help AHS were the fouls it gave HHS during the second.

Ellison got a steal sometime later and made two free throws after a foul to make it the 11-point ball game at the break

While Hillcrest-Evergreen may have had the lead for the majority of the game, Andalusia wasn’t going to give up quietly.

AHS junior DeVante Jackson got a drive in the paint to cut it to 30-20 to start the third period. Montel Lee added a drive a little later for a 32-22 score.

Now in foul trouble, AHS had to rely on playing without its big man in James for the last five minutes or so of the third period.

Jackson bounced back with a 3-pointer with more than five minutes to go, but A’Xavian Ingram answered with a drive on a steal to make it 38-25.

Stepping up its game on the defensive end, Andalusia got a 6-0 run going late in the third period to cut it to 42-36 based off of its 2-3 scheme.

Jackson laced the lane for a bucket, Ke’Shun Townsend drove the paint after a steal and later got a bucket off of a Kendarius Townsend pass to complete the run.

In the fourth period, the Bulldogs cut the game close after a 9-0 run that was started by Ke’Shun’s putback. Lee then got a quick steal and got a 3-point play with 5:29 to go.

With pressure on the inside, AHS took advantage and grabbed steals, where it converted on the offensive end.

Hillcrest-Evergreen looked rattled and missed shots when it needed them to go in.

Later in the period, Ellison got a drive to the basket to make it 56-51, where AHS called a timeout with 1:26 left to go.

Trae Lewis made two on a 1-and-1, and the Jaguars put up a good defensive stand in the end to get the win.

“They fought hard, but we made mistakes and that’s a part of it,” Robertson said. “We hung in and we hung in. It took us a while to get acclimated to basketball. We just fell a little short.

“We wish Hillcrest and Wilcox the best,” he said. “They represent our area, and hopefully will go on and represent our region.”

Robertson said he was proud of how his seniors — Lee, Ellison and James — played this year.

“I’m proud of these guys who endured to the end,” the coach said. “I never worried whether or not who was going to play because I got enough. I know who I’m playing with.”

Ellison led AHS with 14 points. Lee chipped in 13.

Roach led HHS with 18 points; Lewis and Matthew Likely had 10 points each.

Andalusia ended its season 8-18.

Wilcox Central girls 38, Andalusia girls 21

Early turnovers and fouls along with not being able to score plagued Andalusia in its Class 4A, Area 2 semifinal game against Wilcox Central yesterday.

The Lady Jaguars beat AHS 38-21 after outscoring the local girls 14-2 in the first period and holding a 20-9 lead at halftime.

AHS coach Brad Garner said it was just a matter of not putting the ball in the basket.

“We couldn’t score,” Garner said. “The turnovers in the first half were huge.

“We just couldn’t get anything going offensively,” he said. “We played good defense. That was the fewest points we’ve given up to them.”

The Lady Bulldogs had 18 turnovers in the first half, and 27 for the game.

Andalusia’s Shandricka Thompkins got a jumper to cut it to 22-11 to start the third period, but the Lady Jaguars’ best 3-point shooter in Jamaya Miller got a 25-footer to make it 25-11.

On Andalusia’s next possession, Grace Burns found Laticia Crittenden who drove the lane for a 3-point play to cut the lead to 25-14.

Andalusia pressed late in the third to helped cut the game to 29-19 going into the fourth.

The only points for the Lady Bulldogs came on Alexis Lawrence’s drive on the baseline early in the final period.

Lawrence led AHS with eight points and six rebounds; and Burns chipped in seven rebounds.

AHS finished its season 7-16.