KEEPING THE CROWN: Bulldogs win 50th annual tourney

Published 12:14 am Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The No. 2-ranked Class 4A Andalusia Bulldogs knocked off Class 1A’s No. 3-ranked Georgiana Panthers 62-59 Saturday night in Andalusia to win the 50th Annual Andalusia Christmas Invitational Tournament Championship.

B.J. Anderson finishes off drive with an acrobatic layup. He was named tourney MVP.

B.J. Anderson finishes off drive with an acrobatic layup. He was named tourney MVP.

Andalusia’s B.J. Anderson finished with 26 points in the championship game and became the first recipient of the newly named Bryant-Robertson Tournament MVP Award.

“I’m really proud that someone from Andalusia could win the first Bryant-Robertson Tournament MVP Award,” Andalusia head coach Anthony Clark said. “B.J. has done a great job for us so far this season, and he really had a great tournament.”

For Anderson, he said it was just all about his teammates.

“It feels good to win with Bryant-Robertson Award and to know we kept it at home in Andalusia,” Anderson said. “Coach Clark just had such a great game plan for us. It’s really great just to see the smiles on my teammates’ faces.”

Andalusia got things started in the opening frame with a quick basket from Jaden Brown.

Ke’Shun Townsend then picked up a foul as he drove the lane for a layup. The layup missed, but Townsend hit one free throw to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead.

The Panthers got on the board when DeAarion Square hit a free throw.

Georgiana tied the game 3-3 when Nizaiah Smith.

Another bucket from Smith then gave Georgiana their first lead of the game.

Both teams continued to battle it out in the opening period, but Georgiana was on top 19-12 heading in the second period.

R.J. Drish makes a strong drive through traffic.

R.J. Drish makes a strong drive through traffic.

Georgiana opened up the second period with a quick bucket to stretch their lead to 9 points.

R.J. Trish got then knocked down a pair of free throws to make the score 21-14.

Anderson drove hard into the lane and drew a foul as he dropped in a layup. Anderson hit his free throw for an old-fashioned 3-point play.

The Bulldogs kept the pressure turned up on the talented Panthers from Butler County and inched the game closer with a layup from Brown.

On the other end of the court, the Bulldogs created a turnover and Anderson buried a 3-pointer to put Andalusia on top 22-21.

Georgiana grabbed the led back with a bucket, but Andalusia’s Curtis Daniels dropped in a layup on strong drive through the lane to put the Bulldogs back on top.

R.J. Drish makes a strong drive through traffic.

R.J. Drish makes a strong drive through traffic.

The Panthers then went on a short run to take a 29-24 lead.

A layup from Anderson and then a pair of free throws from Alex Sheridan cut the Georgiana lead down to 30-28.

Townsend came up with a big block on shot attempt from the Panthers and Andalusia’s Allan George turned it into a layup to tie the game 30-30 with just under a minute left in the first half.

Sheridan gave the Bulldogs the lead with a strong drive through traffic.

Georgiana got a tip in just before the buzzer to tie the game 34-34 heading into halftime.

Anderson got the Bulldogs on top 44-40 with a layup in the third period, and then a steal from Townsend was turned into points to put Andalusia up 46-40.

A few moments later, Townsend knocked down a jumper to put Andalusia up 48-42.

Heading into the final period, Andalusia was on top 48-43.

Anderson took over for the Bulldogs in the final period to help give the Bulldogs their 23rd championship in the 50th Annual Andalusia Christmas Invitational Tournament.

The Bulldogs kept the lead throughout the final period, but the Panthers never gave up on the cause.

The Panthers had several chances to tie the game on 3-point attempts, but couldn’t get anything to fall.

Anderson picked up 8 points in the final period including going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.

“It’s like I told the guys after the game, that wasn’t our best performance, but we found a way to win,” Clark said. “There were a lot of guys who made contributions that won’t show up in the scorebook. Guys like Alex Sheridan, who only played four or five minutes, but they were huge minutes. Then there were guys like Jaden Brown who played most of the night. I’m very proud of the way we played tonight against a very good team. Once again, kudos to our student section. They were incredible and our guys continue to feed off of the energy that our student section brings.”

Along with Anderson, R.J. Drish, Jaden Brown and Allan George were named to the All-Tournament team.