By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
Paris Sanders, Britney Johnson and Caroline Stroud are bench players.
The fact that they are bench players doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t talented enough to start. The reason, however, that they don’t start is because they play for New Albany.
The Lady Bulldogs are 19-0 on the season and already feature two quality point guards on the floor at the same time along with two stellar post players, who, combined, provide close to 34 points and 19 rebounds each game.
“Paris Sanders, Brittany Johnson and Caroline Stroud are our first three subs of the bench,” said New Albany head coach John Stroud. “In a lot of places, those three would be starting at other schools.”
That just goes to show how talented the Lady Bulldogs are, and the amazing thing is that they have no seniors on this year’s team. Not to mention, New Albany lost only one senior, Tierra Lucas, from last year’s State Tournament team.
“We just have really good team chemistry,” Stroud said. “We have eight juniors on the team that that have been playing together since the seventh grade.
“If you get kids together that have been playing together for so long, they will feed off each other.”
Besides team chemistry, the Lady Bulldogs are a matchup problem for just about anyone.
“It’s hard to press us with two point guards on the floor,” explained Stroud. “And with two post players on the court, it gives teams matchup problems because they can’t really guard us inside.”
The two post players Stroud was referring to are 5-foot-11 freshman forward Jazmine Spears and 6-foot junior center Micha Washington. Stroud said that Spears really opens up Washington’s offensive game.
“If you’re playing alongside Jazmine Spears, you’re going to play well because the (other team’s) best defender will be on Jazmine,” he said. “Jazmine’s a good passer, and the two form the best 1-2 low-post tandem in North Mississippi.”
But overall, New Albany isn’t perfect.
“Shooting percentages,” Stroud said. “That’s probably what I worry about more than anything.
“Also, being undefeated and getting everybody’s best game every night. It’s like their playoff game when they get to play New Albany.
“Being undefeated this late in the season, teams are going to come after you pretty hard.”
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572 or firstname.lastname@example.org