By JON REITER
NEW ALBANY —
With New Albany starters Tanner Marcum and Brianne Nixon sidelined with injuries and Jenna Shine hampered with the flu, the visiting New Washington girls’ basketball squad feasted on the Bulldogs, 55-24 on Tuesday.
The win was Class A No. 8 New Washington’s 12th straight win.
“You know, I was sitting here and watching that game [against Evansville Bosse on Saturday when Marcum and Nixon were both injured], and you just don’t want to see that ever,” said New Washington coach Terry White, whose improved to 17-2. “I know [Marcum] has been very integral to their team, and especially in the fourth quarter, and I think they were trying to find themselves tonight. It’s a tough situation for them late in the season.”
But New Washington, which hosts Borden in opening round sectional Tuesday night, still impressed.
The Mustangs received 17 points and 13 rebounds from 6-foot junior forward Caroline Ricks, and 20 points and 7 rebounds from guard Ashley Johnson in rolling over New Albany.
The Mustangs never trailed in the contest. They opened the game with a 12-2 run that was capped by a free throw line jumper from guard Kriston Sarver with 2:56 remaining in the first quarter.
A 3-pointer from New Albany guard Stephanie Iglesias ended the scoring drought for the Bulldogs, who were only 8-of-36 (22 percent) from the field for the contest.
“Tonight, we knew where we were and what we were up against, so it was mainly about us going out and playing hard,” New Albany (9-11) coach Tammy Geron said. “But we struggled to score with two of our starters out and Jenna Shine sick. You’re talking about our three leading scorers sitting over there on the bench. That’s just one of those hurdles we had to face, but we still had to play the game.”
The reports on Marcum, who averages 23 points per game and is the reigning News and Tribune Player of the Year, and Nixon are improving, however. Marcum, who sustained a left ankle injury, and Nixon, who hurt her right knee, are expected to suit up when the Bulldogs host Bedford North Lawrence next Tuesday night as they open postseason play.
Geron said she expected both would be available for practice later in the week, and they’re going to need both to take on the Class 4A No. 2 Stars, who are heavily favored to win the sectional.
“We’re going to give them a few days off to get healthy, and they’re going to come back and regroup, and we’re going to get our game plan together,” Geron said. “I think we have a group that believes in what we’re doing and has confidence. [We have come] a long way from the beginning of the season.”
As for New Washington, behind Ricks and Johnson, the Mustangs look to be playing their best basketball and are burning rubber in their trip towards the postseason.
“I think we did a good job sharing the basketball tonight, of making that extra pass to find the open player for a basket,” White said. “For us, that’s going to be the difference between being a very good team, and a great team, which is what we have the potential to be.”
Forward Lauren Camm led New Albany with 10 points and 5 rebounds.