By GREG MENGELT
New Albany’s players wanted to win one for their coach.
Even if she wasn’t willing to admit it, former Scottsburg coach and current New Albany coach Tammy Geron wanted the victory badly, too.
Brianne Nixon scored 21 points and Tanner Marcum had 14 points and nine assists, but the Bulldogs fell to the Warriorettes 61-51 on Thursday.
It was the first trip back to Scottsburg as a varsity coach for Geron, who served as the head coach for the Warriorettes during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons
“Obviously, there are emotions here that aren’t in other ballgames,” Geron admitted. “But for us right now, as a basketball team, it’s about us getting better every night. We just have to keep battling night after night and get better.”
The Bulldogs seemed more disappointed for their coach than Geron did for herself.
“We just wanted to beat Scottsburg,” Nixon said. “It’s kind of a rival game to me because our coach coached here.”
“We wanted to try to do our best to win for our coach,” Marcum said. “But [Scottsburg is] pretty good.”
The Class 3A No. 12 Warriorettes used a balanced attack to improve to 6-1 overall. Kelsey Smith led Scottsburg with 15 points. Ashley Elliot added 14, Katie Wampler scored 11 and Jillian Romero finished with 10 for the Warriorettes.
Elliot, Wampler and Smith were all in the Scottsburg program that Geron directed for two years.
“They have four kids who can all score and can all handle the ball,” Geron said of the Warriorettes. “When you have more than two or three kids who can score for you, that’s hard to defend.
“They’re great kids. They were in the feeder program here when I was the coach. When kids put in the hard work and the effort that I know those kids have put in, it’s nice to see them be rewarded for it when they get to this level.”
Scottsburg jumped out to an 11-8 lead after one quarter, thanks in large part to six New Albany turnovers.
Nixon and Marcum kept New Albany in the contest. Nixon, whose season high was seven points coming in, scored all eight of the Bulldogs’ first-quarter points. Marcum assisted on three of her four buckets.
Nixon — a sophomore — also had game highs of seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
“She finished her shots tonight,” Geron said. “She squared up, she went up strong. Those are things we work on in practice. I thought she executed those things tonight. She’s worked extremely hard for us. She played really hard tonight. I’m so proud of her.”
“She’s good. She’s young and she’s had to learn a lot,” Marcum said. “She’s real athletic. She’ll be really good. I’m glad she’s on the team.”
New Albany turned the ball over 10 more times in the second quarter, including its first three possessions, for 16 in the first half. The errors helped Scottsburg to a 25-17 halftime advantage.
“That’s what we do right now,” Geron said of the turnovers. “We make unforced turnovers because we’re trying to do things we’re not capable of doing right now. That’s inexperience.”
“We’ll get killed with our turnovers,” Marcum said. “We’re just so young. We have to learn to control the ball. We tend to freak out and throw it away, but we’re working on it.”
Jenna Shine hit a 3-pointer to open the second half — the first points scored by any Bulldog other than Nixon or Marcum — to cut the Warriorette advantage to 25-20.
A Nixon 15-footer kept the Bulldogs within 31-25 at the 4:10 mark of the third, but Romero led a 12-5 run to finish the quarter with seven points, including a layin at the buzzer.
The lead ballooned to 47-32 on a Samantha Beverly offensive putback before New Albany made its final run. The Bulldogs went on a 13-6 spurt — behind Marcum’s five points and three assists and four points from Claire Hirsch — to pull within 53-45 at the 2:15 mark.
Marcum — easily the Bulldogs’ leading scorer this season — looked to get teammates more involved on Thursday. Her final line was 14 points, 6-for-6 from the foul line, nine assists, five rebounds and a game-high four steals.
“[Scottsburg] did a good job of taking me away as a scoring option,” Marcum said. “I tried to hit the open person whenever I could.”
“She knows that we have to get more people touching the ball in order for us to be successful,” Geron said. “That will make us stronger and harder to defend with our athleticism.”
Scottsburg held off the Bulldogs in the final two minutes, dropping them to 3-3, as Nixon looked an with a shoulder injury that she suffered in the contest’s waning moments.
“I don’t know how bad [the injury] is. I hope she’s ready to play on Saturday,” Geron said of Saturday’s home Hoosier Hills Conference contest against Jennings County (4-3).
SCOTTSBURG 61, NEW ALBANY 51
New Albany 8 9 13 21—51
Scottsburg 11 14 18 18—61
New Albany (3-3): Tanner Marcum 4-9 6-6 14, Stephanie Iglesias 0-0 0-0 0, Temple Ricke 1-3 0-0 2, Brianne Nixon 9-14 3-5 21, Lauren Camm 1-7 1-2 3, Aaliyah Bell 0-2 0-0 0, Jenna Shine 1-8 1-5 3, Claire Hirsch 4-4- 0-0 8. Totals 20-48 10-13 51.
Scottsburg (6-1): Ashley Elliot 5-10 0-2 14, Jillian Romero 4-9 1-2 10, Cara Bulington 1-4 1-2 3, Kelsey Smith 6-12 3-3 15, Samantha Beverly 3-5 2-2 8, Katie Wampler 5-8 1-2 11. Totals 24-48 12-17 61.
3-point field goals: New Albany 1-13 (Shine 1-5, Marcum 0-2, Ricke 0-2 , Camm 0-3); Scottsburg 1-9 (Romero 1-6, Elliot 0-2, Beverly 0-1).
Rebounds: New Albany 26 (Nixon 7); Scottsburg 31 (Bulington 7).
Assists: New Albany 12 (Marcum 9); Scottsburg 11 (Elliot 5).
Steals: New Albany 11 (Marcum 4); Scottsburg 15 (Elliot 4).
Blocked shots: New Albany 5 (Nixon 2); Scottsburg 1 (Wampler).
Turnovers: New Albany 20, Scottsburg 21.
Team fouls: New Albany 12, Scottsburg 15.
Fouled out: Hirsch (NA).