Throughout his team-high 16-point, eight-rebound performance, Dobbins looked like a player who was very much motivated, even thankful to be on the court.
“I think he thought he wasn’t going to play,” Anniston coach Schuessler Ware said with a grin.
That’s because Ware let Dobbins think he wasn’t going to play for missing practice Friday. Ware let Dobbins think it for, well, how long?
“It was today, right before the game” that Ware told Dobbins that he would play, Dobbins said.
Don’t think that Anniston’s veteran coach has suddenly gone soft. Ware had good reason to cut Dobbins slack in a game the Bulldogs would win handily, whether Dobbins played or not.
Count Dobbins among the victims of this past week’s surprise snow storm. Winter weather and resulting hazardous driving conditions forced an early school release Tuesday and closures Wednesday through Friday. Extracurricular activities were canceled, as well.
All until Friday, that is. Road conditions improved, and Anniston’s team was able to get in a hastily called practice. Problem was, Dobbins had heard otherwise.
“One of my teammates put on Facebook that practice was canceled,” he said. “Then (Qua) Frazier put up that it was 1 o’clock.”
By the time Dobbins saw the latter post, he had missed practice.
He spent the whole weekend and most of Monday thinking he was going to have to sit out Monday’s regular-season finale at home. When he found out he would play?
“I just came out ready to play,” he said.
Dobbins hit eight of 13 shots, mostly tough shots in traffic against Fort Payne’s 2-3 zone.
He wasn’t the only player who came ready to play. Quin Jackson turned in 12 points, four rebounds and four steals. DeMarcus Thomas added 11 points and five steals. Tray Croft scored 10 points.
Anniston took control quickly, leading 21-8 after one quarter and 37-14 at halftime. The Bulldogs (18-6) led by as many as 38 points, 67-29 on Frazier’s 3-pointer from the corner with five minutes to play.
Anniston’s subs saw action in the second quarter and last three minutes of the game. Ware, concerned that last week’s games against Gadsden City and Jacksonville were called off because of snow, wanted his front-line players to get good tune-up for the Class 4A, Area 10 tournament.
Munford opens against Cleburne County at 5:30, followed by Anniston-Lincoln.
“I believe in my team,” Dobbins said. “This team is going to go all the way this year.”
Jeffrey Watkins led Fort Payne (2-26) with 10 points.
Anniston girls 60, Fort Payne 42: After a slow start, Quanetria Bolton and sixth-ranked Anniston (20-5) took control in the second half.
Bolton went scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting in the first quarter but finished with a game-high 20 points. Raven Cooley hit four 3-pointers en route to 14 points.
Anniston led by as many as 20 points, 58-38, with a minute to play, and Anniston coach Eddie Bullock said the game showed vast improvement for the Bulldogs.
“They’re a good team,” he said. “They beat us (54-39 on Dec. 16 at Fort Payne), and tonight we beat them by 18 here at home.”
Fort Payne (18-10) got 15 points on five Lauren McConnell 3-pointers.
The girls’ 4A, Area 10 tourney starts Thursday at Anniston, with Cleburne County and Munford playing at 5:30 p.m. and Anniston and Lincoln playing at 7.
Contact Sports Columnist Joe Medley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @jmedley_star.