By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
NEW ALBANY – Moses Kingsley set the tone early in Tuesday night’s opening-round game of the MHSAA Class 4A North tournament.
The 6-foot-9 sophomore grabbed the rebound off Kareem Brown’s missed free throw, took a couple of dribbles toward the rack and then violently dunked the ball one-handed for New Albany’s first points of the game.
From there, the Bulldogs rolled to an impressive 70-54 victory at Memorial Gym.
“The kids did a good job of moving the basketball,” said New Albany coach Brad Gray. “We got the ball where we needed to get it. We got good looks at the basket and actually made some shots tonight.”
Second-ranked New Albany (26-3) will now host the rest of the North tourney, and will play Yazoo County in Thursday’s quarterfinals. That game is set for 4 p.m.
“We knew that New Albany is a good team,” said Mustangs coach Newton Mealer, whose team ended its season 15-14. “We knew they had speed. We knew they had height.
“Our kids went to the final four last year, so we felt like we could come in and play with them, but we were intimidated from the very beginning.”
Tadarious Coburn scored all 22 of his points through the first three quarters, while Devonte Berry ended up with 14 and Kareem Brown 11 in a contest the Bulldogs led by double digits throughout.
The Mustangs, who had been averaging 70 points a game, were held to just five in the first quarter and 16 through the opening half.
“We were lagging a little bit,” Mealer said about his team, which concluded its Division 2-4A Tournament at home Monday night due to last week’s winter weather. “But you gotta give New Albany credit. Their kids got down and wanted to play defense, and made it difficult for us to score.”
Ontario Brown scored 15 points while Jabarri Fisher and Jaquon Mullins added 13 apiece for the Mustangs.
– (G) New Albany 65, Rosa Fort 48: While the first half of Tuesday’s opening-round game may not have reflected the Lady Bulldogs’ best basketball, the second half may have been one of their finest hours.
Trailing Rosa Fort 22-21 with 2:35 to play before halftime, top-ranked New Albany outscored the Lady Lions 44-26 the rest of the way to advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Jazmine Spears led New Albany (24-4) with a game-high 29 points while Kebrina Lucas added 10.