Malcolm Carlisle has found a basketball home again, and there’s apparently room for two alpha-dog scorers.
Playing his first game in two-and-a-half years, Carlisle poured in 38 points to lead 4A Anniston past 7A Hoover 61-59 at Anniston.
It was the season-opener for Anniston’s boys and the game return for Carlisle, who spent time at Saks, Faith Christian and Sacred Heart before enrolling at Anniston and teaming with all-state guard Antonio Kite.
Kite, seeing his first action since Anniston’s football season ended Friday, didn’t start and clearly didn’t have his basketball best. His lone field goal came at 1:09 of the third quarter, and he finished with eight points.
That didn’t prevent Anniston from beating Hoover (3-1), which beat defending 6A champion Huffman before falling at Anniston. The Bulldogs had Carlisle.
“It’s like having another Antonio Kite out there,” Anniston coach Torry Brown said. “He can stretch defenses. He’s like Antonio, because he can shoot from anywhere.
“He’s another guy who can make a play, and you can’t get too many of those guys.”
Carlisle started at Saks before going to Faith for his freshman year. He launched into a promising high school career with the Lions but was ruled ineligible before his sophomore year.
He spent the rest of his sophomore year at Sacred Heart then spent his junior year out of the game, back at Saks.
Carlisle called playing his first game since his sophomore year “electric.”
“I just missed it,” he said. “I can’t describe the feeling.”
His immediate impact left lots to be described. He hit seven 3-pointers, including two in each of the first three quarters. He had 18 points at halftime.
Carlisle scored 10 points during an 18-2 Anniston run in the third quarter. The Bulldogs went from trailing 34-25 to leading 43-36.
Carlisle’s surge within an Anniston surge included an alleyoop dunk on a pass from Kite to tie the game 36-36.
“We’ve been playing rec league since kids, like 7 and 8,” Carlisle said. “It’s just a bond.
“When I moved schools, we never lost the bond. This ain’t nothing new to us.”
Tuesday’s game marked the beginning of basketball season for Anniston’s football contingent. Kite, who played football for the first time since eighth grade and attracted college offers as a defensive back, joined receiver Taishun Hall in suiting up for hoops. Hall transferred to Anniston after Sacred Heart dropped sports in May.
Brown said he expects quarterback Kamron Sandlin to play basketball, as well.
Anniston beat Hoover as a work in progress Tuesday, but the Bulldogs had to live through anxious moments. After Carlisle sank the second of two free throws to make it 61-59 with 2.8 seconds left, Hoover’s Colby Carter spotted up and sank a 3-pointer from the corner.
Officials ruled that the shot came after the buzzer.
Hoover 67, Anniston 53: Serena Hardy, a Sacred Heart transfer, hit four 3-pointers en route to a team-high 14 points, and Allasha Dudley and Asia Barclay scored 10 apiece.
It wasn’t enough to overcome Hoover’s 28-point first quarter and 40-20 lead at halftime.
“We had almost 20 turnovers in the first half,” Anniston coach Eddie Bullock said. “I’ve never coached a team in my life that had that many turnovers.
“A lot of that is attributed to being new players and young players, but you still shouldn’t have 20 turnovers.
Anniston, the reigning 4A state champion, lost four seniors, including starters Kiana Montgomery and Airriana Colley. Among the new players are Hardy and Alisia Person, who also transferred from Sacred Heart.
Anniston fell to 1-1, including a 55-40 victory over Fairfield in Saturday’s opener.