NEW ALBANY TAKES WIN IN 3A TOURNEY
By Mike Talbert
NEW ALBANY — It was a hot night for basketball as the North Mississippi 3A tournament opened Friday.
The host New Albany Bulldogs took advantage of their depth and the inside-outside scoring of Bradley Jones and Shawn High to wilt the Velma Jackson Falcons 90-76.
Jones scored 23 points, High 19 and Matt Koon had 16 points and seven rebounds for New Albany.
With the win, the Bulldogs clinched the trip to the Mississippi 3A tournament in Jackson that eluded them last year. The Bulldogs (30-3) and No. 1 in Northeast Mississippi) will play Senatobia (29-5) in the championship game at 8:30 p.m. It will be a rematch of a Nov. 30 game New Albany won 78-73 in overtime in the Pontotoc Tournament.
Velma Jackson (19-9) will play McClain (21-12), an 80-68 loser to Senatobia, in the consolation game at 7 p.m.
“It must have been 90 degress ou there,” New Albany coach Warner Bradford said.
By playing 10 players regularly throughout the game, that the Bulldogs were able to raise the temperature a little higher for the Falcons, who wore down in the second half.
However in the first half, the Bulldogs felt they were a bit on the cold side as they squeezed out a 48-41 lead.
“We just didn’t play well the first half, and coach told us if we wanted to go to Jackson we needed to step it up,” Jones said. “We went out to play hard.”
Bradford said, “It was the weakest defensive effort that we have had in some time, we weren’t blocking out or stopping penetration and rebounding well.”
New Albany turned the heat up as High hit three quick jumpers off turnovers to open a 56-43 lead and the Falcon never cut it to with in 10 after that.
Jones and Koon were able to take advantage of Falcons who were getting into foul trouble inside, while High was hitting outside.
“I felt like I had to take it to them since they were doubling up on the big men inside,” High said
And the big men inside were adjusting pretty well themselves and Koon and Jones showed their experience. They got 6-8 super sophomore Demond Watson, who is planning to attend a summer camp at Florida, to foul out in less that a half of playing time. He finished with 14 points, and left the scoring burden to a pair of guards, Rodney Burrell with 15 points and Tracy Steele with 12 points.
Senatobia 80, McClain 68: Senatobia used quickness to outrun much taller McClain Mustangs. Marquis Orange hit seven 3-pointers as he finished with 31 points for the Warriors. Greg Mabry added 16 points, and Mississippi State football signee Ken Jones 14.
McClain, which used six fourth quarter treys to make the game seem closer than it was, had 20 points from Fredrick Chambers, 11 each from 6-9 Adrian Meels and Jerry Walton and 10 from Alex Meeks.