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December 13, 2012

H.S. GIRLS' BASKETBALL: New Albany falls to Ballard, 60-51 despite solid effort

NEW ALBANY — The New Albany girls’ basketball squad fell 60-51 to visiting Ballard (Ky.) last night in the Doghouse, but coach Tammy Geron said it was probably the most complete effort of the year by her troops.

“I’m really proud of the kids,” said Geron, whose Bulldogs (4-4) pushed the undefeated Bruins (6-0, ranked No. 9 in Kentucky) for the entire contest before falling behind in of the final two minutes. “We talked about playing one quarter at a time, and at halftime, we talked about playing every four minutes — where we wanted to be after each four minute period of the game. I thought we played smart basketball tonight.”

Things didn’t start out so hot for the Bulldogs. Behind the post presence of 6-foot-4 center Terra Banks, the Bruins jumped out to a 9-2 lead and seemed poised to break the game open early before Geron took a timeout with 4:22 remaining in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs regained their composure and began whittling away at the lead throughout the remainder of the first half.

A 3-pointer from Bulldog guard Jenna Shine made the score 31-28 with less than a minute to go before intermission. Two free throws from backcourt mate Tanner Marcum drew New Albany to within 1 at 31-30, which was what the scoreboard read at halftime.

A 3-pointer from Lauren Camm opened the second half for New Albany, which took its first lead of the night at 33-31 with 7:30 remaining in the third quarter. The Bruins would answer with a 6-0 run over the ensuing 2 minutes and 32 seconds that gave them a 37-33 lead midway through the quarter.

A long jumper from Marcum gave the Bulldogs the lead back at 38-37, but on Ballard’s next possession, Layfield scored in close again, was fouled by New Albany’s Claire Hirsch, and sank the free throw to allow the Bruins to re-take the lead. This time the lead stuck for good at 40-38 with 3 minutes remaining in the quarter.

A Marcum 3-pointer drew the Bulldogs to 47-46 with 6:32 remaining in the game, but the Bruins edged away slowly late in the quarter to capture the win.

Marcum’s hot shooting and clutch play kept New Albany in the contest until late. The senior led all scorers with 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field. She also grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists.

Again, Geron was pleased despite the loss, which came against one of the area’s top teams.

“I thought defensively, we stuck to our gameplan,” she said. “Holding them to 60 points. That’s not bad. As outsized and out-experienced as we were, I think from the moment we stepped onto the floor tonight until the final buzzer, we competed and we played smart. We haven’t always done that this season.”

Banks led Ballard with 21 points and Layfield, who was held scoreless in the first half, notched all 15.

The Bulldogs travel to take on the Castle Knights on Saturday.

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