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WHAT SWEET REVENGE: Andalusia knocks off UMS for spot in regional final

The Andalusia Bulldogs used a smothering defense to knock off UMS-Wright 58-32 on Saturday in Dothan to earn a spot in this week’s Class 4A South Regional championship game.

“This time of year it starts on the defensive end of the floor,” Andalusia head coach Anthony Clark said. “I think we watched more film in the last four or five days than we have in the entire year. All five guys just locked their shooters up. We did a good job of getting in them, good job of helping and also did a great job of controlling the boards. So I thought early on just our defensive pressure kept us going because I thought we were a sluggish offensively to begin with. Holding those guys to just 26 percent shooting is just a remarkable team effort. I credit everything to our defense today. I tickled to death by the way we played.”

Andalusia’s defense was swarming in the opening frame and limited the UMS-Wright to just one bucket in the period.

The Bulldogs took an early lead with a pair of free throws from Keaun Samuel to open the contest.

After a free throw from UMS-Wright, B.J. Anderson pulled off back-to-back jumpers to go up 6-1 with 3:30 left in the first period.

UMS-Wright’s Robert Bonham got a layup for his team’s only field goal of the first period.

The Bulldogs closed out the scoring in the opening period with buckets from Anderson, Samuel and Ethan Wilson to give Andalusia a 13-3 lead.

“They beat us in football season in the fourth round,” Anderson said. “I kind of felt a little revenge. We just wanted to go out there and play hard. We wanted to play hard on defense. That was the key and just to go out there and play basketball.”

Anderson and the Bulldogs continued the smothering defense in the second period.

With 5:30 left before halftime, Anderson drove into the lane for a layup and was fouled. Anderson drained the and-one opportunity to put the Bulldogs up 20-4.

Wilson followed with a layup and then Trey Wilkerson buried a 3-pointer from the corner to give Andalusia a 25-6 lead.

At halftime, Andalusia was on top 25-9.

The Bulldogs opened up the second half with a quick score on a give-and-go to Roosevelt Weaver.

UMS-Wright managed to get a few shots to fall in the third period and cut the Andalusia lead down to 35-22 heading into the fourth period.

The defensive pressure from Andalusia turned up again in the fourth period with Weaver and Wilson causing havoc on the UMS-Wright guards.

“A huge part of it was our practice on Thursday,” Weaver said. “Our teammates gave us a good look and they helped me prepare to see how the plays were run. They showed me how to defend my man.”

Clark agreed with Weaver’s assessment.

“Pooh (Weaver) is right,” Clark said. “We have five guys on scout team that did nothing but practice UMS stuff for about four or five days. Those kids get a lot of credit for coming in there and working to give these guys a great look.”

The Bulldogs quickly began to add to their lead in the fourth period with buckets from Anderson and R.J. Drish.

Andalusia then got a pair of free throws from both Samuel and Weaver to put the Bulldogs up 44-27.

The Bulldogs continued to apply tremendous pressure as they held off UMS-Wright for a 58-32 win.

With the win, the Bulldogs move on to the regional championship game against Ashford.

“I feel like we are just going to go in there and take care of business,” Drish said of the game against Ashford. “From this point on, it’s just straight business. I feel like our scout team is going to do right and I trust the remaining guys. I feel like everyone is going to do their part and we are just going to take care of business.”

In the win, the Bulldogs shot 51 percent from the field while only allowing UMS-Wright to shot 26 percent.

Anderson led the way for the Bulldogs with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Samuel had 14 points and Wilson finished with 12 points a three steals.

Weaver added four points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists.

The Bulldogs will take on Ashford at 10:45 a.m., Wed., in the Class 4A South Regional championship at the Dothan Civic Center.