By David Wheeler/Special to the Journal
NEW ALBANY – In his first job as a head coach, it took Jonathan Ashley’s school two seasons to win the Union County Championship.
At his new school, with obvious historical ties to his family, Ashley saw his Ingomar team hoist the county championship in his first attempt.
In a competitive contest that saw seven ties in just the third quarter, the Falcons had enough down the stretch Saturday night to hold off the quick New Albany Bulldogs 68-60 to claim the 2013 county title.
“Going into my first year here, I felt we had the opportunity to win it,” said Ashley, the former Myrtle head coach. “We made some big free throws at the end, and it feels good.”
In a typical county tournament fashion of hard-fought and close, New Albany managed a 28-23 halftime lead, but Ingomar’s Henry Foster hit a 3-pointer falling out-of-bounds at the buzzer to give the Falcons (16-8) a 47-44 margin.
Ingomar never relinquished the lead in the fourth quarter, with New Albany as close as 53-51 with 4 minutes, 26 seconds to play on free throws by Jarel Lipsey. Foster then hit two of three Ingomar baskets, and he added six free throws in the final 1:29 to help clinch the championship on the way to a 30-point scoring effort.
Lipsey paced New Albany (11-9) with 15.
(G) New Albany 65, West Union 52: After a close first half, which saw the Lady Bulldogs (14-4) hold a 29-26 lead, New Albany gained a bit of an edge in the third quarter to hold a 47-36 lead by the end of the period.
“I wanted to play my best and win my last one,” said Lady Bulldogs star Jasmine Spears, who was on the winning team in four of the five Union County Tournaments she played in. “It’s very intense, and I wanted to play hard.”
Spears scored 33 to pace New Albany (14-4), while Julianna Garner hit 24 for West Union (15-5).