Bulldogs’ tournament win
New Albany has made a lot of noise the last two seasons in basketball, with most of the focus staying on the girls side. The state’s top ranked team, who currently still hold a national ranking in the USA Today poll, will again make a push for a state title, but behind them, in the shadows, are the boys.
The Bulldogs traveled to Dyersburg, Tenn. last week to participate in a holiday tournament, taking on three tough opponents (Jackson Southside, Briarcrest and Brighton) and coming out on top as the tournament champions.
The win over Briarcrest is particularly special, as the Saints are one of the better teams from the Memphis area, and this is the second year in a row the ‘Dawgs have come out on top in this match-up.
Talking with NAHS head coach Brad Gray Tuesday night, he noted that this tournament will hopefully help his team should they make a return trip to the postseason this year.
“We played quality teams who are very athletic and fundamentally sound,” he said. “They play good basketball, and it was good competition for us and will help us down the road because if we’re fortunate enough to make it to the north half tournament, we’ll play the same kind of format; three good teams, three nights in a row, so it was good practice, and hopefully it will help us down the road.”
Including Tuesday night’s win over Itawamba, the Bulldogs have won four straight since their setback at Shannon last month, and that loss was the first in division for the ‘Dawgs since the 2008-2009 season.
While New Albany is achieving success on the boys side, they are still somewhat under the radar, ranked fourth in 4A by the Clarion Ledger at 14-2, and behind Rosa Fort (17-0) who ended the Bulldogs’ season last year.
The ‘Dawgs are currently averaging 68.3 points per game, led by Tadarious Coburn with 16.8 points and 7.1 rebounds.
On top of Coburn’s success so far this season, Gray has a ton of talent, both starting and even ones contributing off the bench, including Malcolm Spears, Moses Kingsley, Kareem Brown and Eric Chaney.
New Albany is reeling off impressive wins and will definitely make a run for, not only the county championship next weekend, but also their second straight division championship.
The rematch with Shannon is on their minds right now, which will take place on Jan. 18, and with the way the team is currently playing, Bulldog fans could possibly cheer on two teams in Jackson this year; a bold statement I will stand by myself.
About Chris Elkins
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