Led by star forward Quanetria Bolton's double-double, Anniston took its first step Wednesday night with a 59-24 win over Ohatchee in the quarterfinals at Jacksonville State, putting the Bulldogs into Friday’s semifinals against Piedmont.
“Jacksonville played better than us last season, so they deserved the championship,” Bullock said. “Any team has an opportunity to win. You just have to play better than the opposing team on a given night.”
This year, Bullock is making sure his team is taking this tournament one game at a time.
“Whoever we meet Friday, we are going to try and play better than them,” Bullock said before Piedmont dispatched White Plains in a quarterfinal matchup. “If we are lucky enough to make it to the finals, we are just going to go all-in that night.”
Anniston has played in the last six of seven county finals, with their only absence being 2010 season. The Bulldogs won the championship in 2007, ’08, ’09, ’11 and ’12.
Wednesday night marked Anniston’s first game in the tournament, which began Saturday. As the No. 1 seed, the Lady Bulldogs received a first-round bye.
“It’s hard being off for three or four days, but we tried to keep them motivated,” Bullock said. “They came out with great energy, and I liked the way they played.
“It’s great to be back on the court, because you don’t want to overtrain, or overwork, but at the same time you don’t want to underwork them in practice.”
The off days didn’t affect Anniston senior Quanetria Bolton’s performance. An Alabama signee, she finished 21 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and eight blocks.
“I knew I had to come out and make a statement,” Bolton said. “I have a target on me, so I needed to make a statement so everyone would notice me.”
The Bulldogs also found production from Marticia Jackson, who added 17 points, and Rakeema Najiy, who chipped in with nine.
“We still have a few things to work on, but overall I was pleased with the energy we came out with,” Bullock said. “We are still fouling too much, which is just discipline and getting in the right position. We’ve been working on that for two months, and that’s just going to take time.”
The Anniston defense limited Ohatchee throughout the whole contest. Jorgia Steger was the Indians’ leading scorer with 10 points, and Morgan Lee added nine.
“To us, defense is first,” Bolton said. “We really don’t focus on offense a lot.”
Now, the focus is on Piedmont, which has beaten Alexandria and fourth-seeded White Plains in the tournament.
“If we play, we are going to be hard to beat, but if we don’t play, we can be beat,” Bullock said.