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BOTH THE BULLDOGS GIRLS AND BOYS ADVANCE IN SEMI-FINAL GAMES ON FRIDAY AND WILL PLAY FOR THE 4A STATE TITLE AT 9:00 AM AND 11:30 AM ON THURSDAY

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The #2 ranked Anniston boys are headed to the Class 4A state championship game for the first time in more than a decade, while Eddie Bullock's defending 4A state champion Lady Bulldogs will play for the state title for the third consecutive year.


The Anniston boys knocked down 16-of-26 free throws, including 10-of-16 in the final quarter, on the way to a 53-40 victory over Vigor in the Class 4A boys basketball semifinals at Bill Harris Arena on Friday.  


In a game where five technical fouls were called, the game ended with 33 seconds left after a hard foul by Vigor’s Devin Caldwell on Anniston’s Malcolm Carlisle and both benches emptied. The officials decided to end the game at that time.

“We hate the game ended the way it did, but we’re glad our fans were able to come out and see this place one more time,” said Anniston coach Torre Brown.


“You never know when the last time is going to be so we’re happy the community came out and supported us and we’re looking forward to coming back.”


Malcolm Carlisle was 8-of-16 from the field, including 2-of-6 from behind the arc for a game-high 18 points. He also grabbed six rebounds, had four steals, one assist and one blocked shot. His only negative was 0-of-6 from the line.


The Anniston boys will face Booker T Washington in the 4A Final on Thursday at 11:30 AM.


Earlier in the day, Bullock's Anniston Girls put on a master class in championship-level defense as the top-ranked Bulldogs held off a late rally to clinch a 50-34 victory over third-ranked Jackson in the girls Class 4A state semifinal.


The Bulldogs were only 31 percent from the field but were clutch from the free-throw line with an impressive 80 percent performance and a 7-for-9 showing down the stretch. Anniston also forced 27 turnovers that resulted in 25 points. Asia Barclay finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, and seven steals, Alisia Pearson had eight points and two boards and Serena Hardy added four points and four rebounds.


Allasha Dudley. The senior had a game-high 20 points on only 5-for-25 shooting but went 10-for-12 at the charity stripe to push the Bulldogs to the win. Dudley scored 11 straight points to open the second half and also contributed five steals, four rebounds, two assists, and a block.


Anniston and Rogers will meet Thursday morning at 9 AM in a rematch of the 2019 4A Final won by Rogers.

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OXFORD'S ETHEREDGE LEAVING FOR "ONE OF THOSE DREAM" JOBS.  ACCEPTS HEAD COACHING POSITION AT AUBURN HIGH SCHOOL ON FRIDAY

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“If you had told me when I started my coaching career that I would be the coach at one of the biggest schools in the state after winning five state titles in three different classes, I would be like, ‘Sign me up. I’m all in,’” he said. “To say I’ve been blessed would be an understatement.”


Those were the words to the media Friday from Coach Keith Etheredge, a two-time FNN Coach of the Year (Leeds in 2015, Oxford in 2019).


Auburn City Schools approved Keith Etheredge to be the Tigers' new coach Friday morning. He replaces Adam Winegarden.


“I think it’s a great place with great leadership,” Etheredge said following the announcement.


“Dr. (Cristen) Herring (superintendent) is the ultimate professional, and Dr. (Shannon) Pignato (principal) has been really good through this whole process. I think the city and the school system work well together. It’s a situation that will be great for my kids and great for my family. It’s truly one of those dream jobs.”


Rumors of Etheredge's departure developed throughout the community and on social media Thursday morning.  FNN learned that Etheredge had interviewed for the job in a phone call with Etheredge on Thursday afternoon.  According to Etheredge, the offer wasn't officially extended to him until mid-day Thursday, but wouldn't become official until the Board voted on Friday.  


The Anniston Star reported that Oxford athletics director Larry Davidson led off a conference call with local reporters Friday with admonitions about social-media speculation about Etheredge's reasons for leaving and what's next at Oxford.  He called it "totally laughable" and said, "there is nobody that is at odds with anybody."


Etheredge has said that his decision had "nothing to do with things at Oxford," which he still considers to be "one of the top jobs in Alabama."

"I believe Auburn is the top job in Alabama, along with Thompson and some of those other places, also," Etheredge said. "It has nothing to do with anything wrong with Oxford."


Etheredge said the pay increase he would be receiving was "life-changing" in respect to his retirement and what was best for his family.


Davidson concluded with Oxford is "excited about the future" and has started its process for moving forward.

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