BY JON REITER
NEW ALBANY —
The New Albany girls’ basketball team fell behind early, battled back then ran out of steam in the fourth quarter in falling to Class 3A No. 8 Madison 39-33 at the Doghouse on Thursday.
The Bulldogs (3-9, 0-3 Hoosier Hills Conference) were outscored 10-0 over the first 4 1/2 minutes of the contest and trailed 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Playing aggressively on defense and offense, New Albany was poised to close the first half on a 12-0 run but relinquished a last second shot — a banked in jumper from the free-throw line by Madison forward Macky Hecox.
Still, the Bulldogs were in good shape headed into intermission as they led 23-18.
“I thought we played very well for three quarters, and then all of a sudden, we stopped doing the things that put us ahead,” New Albany coach Tammy Geron said. “Later on in the game, we were getting out-rebounded, committed turnovers we couldn’t really afford. We weren’t moving the ball like we were earlier. That hurt us. It seems funny to talk about it in January, but those things are just part of our growing pains right now.”
A short jumper from freshman Marissa Jones broke a 29-all tie with 3:10 remaining in the third quarter, but that would be the only basket either team would score headed into the fourth quarter as New Albany held a two-point lead.
Madison reserve guards Delany Liter and Katie Hartmann nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Cubs (8-1, 4-1) a 35-31 lead with 4:40 remaining. After Hartman’s trey, Brittany Knight scored inside for New Albany to make it 35-33 with 4:20 remaining. That would be the only basket the Bulldogs would make for the remainder of the game.
New Albany missed its last six shots, and jumpers from Hecox and 6-foot-3 center Brittany Crozier made up the final difference.
It was a frustrating ending for Geron and her troops, who out-rebounded Madison 28-23 despite the presence of Crozier, who had 13 rebounds in the win.
Geron said her team is still searching for an identity and for someone to step up at crucial times in winnable games such as Thursday’s conference game.
During their run in the second quarter, the Bulldogs scored 12 points in just over four minutes but only notched one basket during the entire fourth quarter.
“When you look at the scoreboard, there aren’t too many times when you’re going to win a game after you score 33 points,” she said. “There were times in the fourth quarter where I think we were looking around and trying to find someone who would step up. That’s a lack of experience.”
The Bulldogs are back in action Saturday night when they travel to the Knobs to face off against county rival Floyd Central.
MADISON 39, NEW ALBANY 33
Madison 14 4 11 9—39
New Albany 7 16 8 2—33
Madison (8-1, 4-1 HHC): Jones 4, Thurnall 7, Crozier 4, Wynn 7, Hecox 11, Hartmann 3, Liter 3, Lee 0, Falconberry 0.
New Albany (3-9, 0-3): Nixon 6, Camm 4, Jones 5, Bell 0, Brittany Knight 9, Hirsch 0, Shine 5, Jessica Knight 2, Ashley 2.
3-point field goals: Madison 5 ( Wynn 2,Thurnall, Hartmann, Liter); New Albany 3 (Jones, B. Knight, Shine).
Rebounds: Madison 23 (Crozier 13); New Albany 28 (Bell, Camm 6).
Free throws: Madison 4-5, New Albany 2-3.
Turnovers: Madison 16, New Albany 16.