NEW ALBANY – Usually in sports, after a bit of a layoff, it is good to knock a bit of rust off.
For most Northeast Mississippi high school basketball teams Tuesday, it would be more like shaking off ice.
The undefeated New Albany Lady Bulldogs thawed out in a hurry in a Division 1-4A contest after their layoff from the cold weather, downing the North Pontotoc Lady Vikings 64-36.
“This was a workman-like effort,” New Albany coach John Stroud said. “We played pretty good defense, and shot 52 percent from the field.
“I was pleased.”
With many teams trying to ice the Lady Bulldogs (16-0, 5-0) strong inside game by packing its defense inside the lane, Stroud saw his squad punch holes in that strategy.
Nyambi Penson, Kebrina Lucas, and Porche White all connected on 3-pointers in the first quarter as New Albany raced to a 19-3 lead by the end of the period.
That opened up the lane for Jazmine Spears, whose 14 first-half points helped the Lady Bulldogs control the contest 34-19 by the break.
“When they’re shooting from the outside like they were in the first quarter tonight, they’re hard to beat,” North Pontotoc coach Shane Montgomery said. “They’re hard to handle, anyway.”
Spears went on to pace the New Albany offense with 18 points, one of four Lady Bulldogs in double figures. No Lady Viking (11-5, 3-3) managed to hit double figures.
“We’ve been working on our shooting because of the really packed in defenses we’ve been facing,” Stroud said. “We’re basically focusing on our half-court defense, and shooting the ball better, and that’s what we did tonight.”
(B) New Albany 79, North Pontotoc 44
The Bulldogs (11-6, 4-2) made the evening a home sweep by out-hustling the Vikings (11-7, 2-4).
Malcolm Spears and Devonte Berry combined for 28 first half points as New Albany powered to a 46-26 lead, and was never challenged in the second half.
Spears bagged 18 to lead New Albany. Ethan Tallant managed 12 for North Pontotoc.
David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal