New Albany bounced back from a two-game skid over the holidays, defeating Pontotoc, 68-49, on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs traveled to Lafayette, La. last week, falling to stiff competition in Vanderbilt Academy and St. Thomas Aquinas at the Sunkist Shootout, but gaining valuable experience entering a tough divisional stretch this month.
“We played a couple a couple good teams in Lafayette; both quality teams,” coach Brad Gray said. “The competition was really good, and even though we got beat, anytime you face that kind of competition, it makes you better.”
Back at home, New Albany easily put away the Warriors behind a 15-point performance by Moses Kingsley. Both the junior and Marcus Reed had five points each after the first quarter, helping the ‘Dawgs to an 18-9 lead, and with 12 points from Jarel Lipsey, the Bulldogs’ improved to 8-7 on the year.
“It was good to get back on the right side of things,” Gray said. “Coming back home to a rivalry game against Pontotoc, it’s always going to be heated and competitive, but our kids played hard and executed.”
“I was pleased and thought we played defense well. I’d like to see us make a few more shots than we made that night, but I’m pleased with our effort.”
New Albany returns to division play on Friday, hosting Rosa Fort, a new district rival, but a familiar opponent, as the Lions have defeated the ‘Dawgs in the playoffs the last two seasons, including a 65-58 win in last year’s north half title game.
“They’ve lost three or four kids from last year’s team, but they’re one of those teams that don’t rebuild, they reload,” Gray said. “They’ll be just as good, if not, better than they were last year. Their guards are really good, athletic and quick, and we’ll have to play very well in order to beat them.”
Pontotoc 87 New Albany 47 (girls)
Jazmine Spears had a game high 36 for the Lady Bulldogs, but that was not enough for New Albany in the 4A match-up.
The junior scored all of New Albany’s first half points, but were down 38-19 at the break behind 12 points from Quinn Ford for the Lady Warriors.
Ford finished with 25 points for Pontotoc, followed by 21 points by Marlee Hatcher and 13 points from Kyla Russell.
With the loss, New Albany falls to 7-6 on the season going into Friday’s game against Rosa Fort.