A lot has changed in a month for the Lady Bulldogs.
After its Jan. 6 contest against Rosa Fort, New Albany found itself in a hole in region play at 0-2, but has since taken three straight division wins on the road, including a 52-51 win at Senatobia on Friday.
“It was a good win and big for us because Jazmine only had 16 points,” coach John Stroud said. “That’s her lowest total since Christmas. If a month ago she got 16, we’d probably only get 30. Senatobia has size and played good defense, so this is a good, quality win.”
Spears scored six first quarter points, but was backed by Britney Johnson, who hit two three-pointers, giving New Albany the 14-9 edge. Kala Parker’s shots from behind the arc also helped, as the Lady ‘Dawgs led 24-18 at the break.
Dieasha Todd helped Senatobia come back in the third, and briefly gave the Lady Warriors the lead.
Clutch free throws kept New Albany close, and the Lady ‘Dawgs regained the lead in the fourth, connecting on 11-of-15 shots at the charity stripe.
“We made our free throws down the stretch and got some rebounds as well,” Stroud said. “They did us a favor playing us in a zone. Our Achilles Heel all year has come when teams have put a press on us, and they didn’t do that tonight, so that really helped us, and they did a good job of guarding Jazmine.”
Spears led New Albany (11-10, 3-2) with 16 points, followed by 10 points from Parker and Erin Michael Carter, and Johnson finished with nine points off three triples.
The win clinches the second seed for New Albany in the Region 2-4A tournament, which will be held at New Albany.
New Albany 61 Senatobia 58 (boys)
The Bulldogs wrapped up a perfect 5-0 record in division play, and did so in dramatic fashion.
With 4.1 seconds remaining, the Bulldogs called a time out after the Warriors’ Marcus Smith tied the game at 58 with his three-pointer. Out of the time out, the Bulldogs put the ball in the hands of Eric Chaney, who nailed the game-winner, giving New Albany its 15th win of the season.
“We’ll take it. If we don’t turn the ball over 25 times, maybe it’s not as close,” coach Brad Gray said. “You have to give Senatobia and Coach Jones credit. They were down double digits, and they could have given up at that point, and they kept fighting back.”
Chaney scored 10 first quarter points, connecting on 8-of-10 free throws, and had 17 points at the break with the ‘Dawgs ahead, 35-28.
The Warriors fought back and took the lead in the third off a dunk by Cam Shorty. Marcus Reed answered, scoring four points to put the ‘Dawgs back in front, 45-43 at the end of the third.
Chaney finished with 22 points for New Albany (15-7, 5-0) while Moses Kingsley posted his second consecutive triple-double (14 points, 10 rebounds, 10 blocks).
Shorty led Senatobia with 15 points, followed by 13 from Smith.
New Albany will close out the regular season playing at Briarcrest on Monday and hosting Tupelo on Tuesday.