By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Monday afternoon’s MHSAA State Tournament semifinal win for the New Albany came in typical Lady Bulldogs fashion.
Great defense, plenty of points in transition and a tremendous inside game for the Daily Journal’s top-ranked large school overwhelmed Northeast Lauderdale and propelled the Lady Bulldogs into Friday night’s Class 4A state championship game.
New Albany (32-0), which trailed 11-3 to start the game, won going away, 61-44, in front of an estimated 1,600 fans at the Mississippi Coliseum.
“This was kind of typical of our games all year,” said New Albany coach John Stroud. “We played some pretty solid defense through the whole game and got the ball inside.”
The Lady Bulldogs’ post players, Jazmine Spears and Micha Washington, had a field day Monday, accounting for 41 of their team’s 61 points.
“Nothing really special in the game,” Stroud said. “These two girls carried us all year with the scoring. So it was just another typical game.”
Maybe not so typical of the Lady Bulldogs was their bad start in the first quarter. They trailed the Lady Trojans 13-12 heading into the second quarter.
Stroud said it took his team a little while before it got used to playing again in the Coliseum and for his players to shake off their nervousness.
Led by Spears’ 12 points in the second quarter, New Albany outscored Northeast Lauderdale 17-5 in the period to lead 29-18 at halftime.
A banged-up Norianna Haynes (MCL sprain) and Kamille Horne (ankle) were not quite at full speed, but still managed to score in double figures for the Lady Trojans (26-7), with 16 and 10, respectively.