By Gene Phelp/NEMS Daily Journal
NEW ALBANY – John Stroud will tell you that when Kabrina Lucas plays well, his New Albany Lady Bulldogs are tough to beat.
Lucas, a junior guard, played very well in Monday’s MHSAA North Mississippi 4A tournament opener against visiting Noxubee County.
She scored 13 points, grabbed five rebounds, recorded four assists and four steals, and blocked two shots in top-ranked New Albany’s 67-40 victory at Memorial Gym.
“She’s laid-back most of the time, but she’s the kind of player who can control a game,” Stroud said of Lucas. “She can put you to sleep with the way she plays, then put a move on you and finish.”
Lucas scored six points in the first half to help the unbeaten (28-0) Lady Bulldogs build a commanding 40-10 halftime lead.
“I thought we played our game tonight,” Lucas said. “We are really focused. We want to take a trip back to Jackson.”
Nyambi Penson, the Lady Bulldogs’ top perimeter shooter, scored a game-high 16 points, but connected on just one 3-pointer.
Micha Washington, the team’s 6-foot post player added 12 points, all in the first half, and grabbed nine rebounds. Freshman star Jazmine Spears scored eight points.
Hustling for rebounds
“Micha rebounded well; we’ve been on her about her rebounding,” Stroud said. “She was aggressive. You have to hustle to rebound.”
New Albany’s defense held the visiting Lady Tigers (14-12), who have played without star Geraldine Campbell the entire second semester because of academics, to just three field goals. Campbell averaged 30.3 points per game.
“I thought we played a great first half,” Stroud said. “You can’t get much better than that. We guarded well and we took good shots.
“It’s going to be tougher from here on out.”
One plus in New Albany’s favor is it will host the eight-team North 4A tournament quarterfinals, semifinals and finals starting Thursday. The event features single-elimination until Saturday’s championship, where both teams advance to the state tournament.
In the past, Friday’s semifinals loser played Saturday a consolation game to determine a third seed for the state tournament. The MHSAA dropped the third seed this year in favor of a final four in Jackson.