Daniel Drummond led the Bulldogs with 22 points, but it was a three-pointer by William Harding that gave New Albany a 56-55 win over Columbus Friday night.
“He did great getting that big shot, and we didn’t lose our composure,” coach Brad Gray said. ‘We got down, contested the shot on defense and fortunately came down with the rebound to end the game.”
The Bulldogs led by as many as 11 in the first half, holding the Falcons to two made baskets in the second quarter. Columbus, however, connected on 8-of-11 free throws, making it a five-point game, 29-25, at the break.
Brandon Porter and C.J. Scott helped put the Falcons ahead in the third, but the return of Moses Kingsley from injury kept New Albany close, as the junior tied the game twice in the frame and the teams were deadlocked at 36 going into the fourth.
“It was a very sloppy game, but you have to give Columbus a lot of credit,” Gray said. “Coach (Sammy) Smith always has his guys prepared; they guard well on defense, and they do an even better job making adjustments at halftime.”
“They shut our inside game down, and we were forced to play a guessing game, kind of like connect the dots out there. We turned the ball over; a lot of unforced errors.”
The Falcons opened the fourth going ahead by six, but Drummond scored 11 points in the quarter and gave New Albany a 53-52 lead with a minute remaining.
Zakeem Thomas put the Falcons ahead on his free throws, 54-53, with less than thirty seconds left, leading up to Harding’s game-winning shot.
Scott and Deontae Jones each scored 13 points to lead Columbus. Devonte Berry scored nine points for New Albany (4-1) and Kingsley added eight coming off the bench.
“With Moses, it’s going to be a progression,” Gray said of Kingsley’s return from injury. “It’s not going to happen over night. We’re going to ease him back in and go game-by-game working him in.”
The Bulldogs will travel to Forrest City, Ark., next week, participating in the Rumble on the Ridge. New Albany will open on Wednesday, taking on Archie Goodwin and Sylvan Hills.
“It’s stacked. There’s not a bad team in there, and there are several with kids who will go on to play division one college basketball,” Gray said. “There’s a lot of great competition and great players, and we’ll definitely get better by the end of it, that’s for sure.”
Columbus 54 New Albany 45 (girls)
In a battle of Dandy Dozens, Jazmine Spears had the edge over Columbus’ Kiandria Patterson, but the Lady Falcons pulled away for the nine-point win.
Ten points from Spears in the opening frame cut Columbus’ lead to two, 18-16, and the Lady Bulldogs held a halftime lead, 29-17.
Led by Patterson, Daisha Williams and Kameron Corrothers, Columbus outscored the Lady ‘Dawgs, 27-16, in the second half to take the win.
Spears scored a game-high 21 points, followed by Britney Johnson with nine off three triples.
Williams led Columbus with 16 points, followed by Patterson with 13 and Corrothers with 12 points.
The Lady Bulldogs (3-3) will next play at Ingomar on Nov. 29.