By JON REITER
NEW ALBANY —
New Albany guard Tanner Marcum — the area’s top scorer — has endured a lot of specialty defenses thrown at her during the course of the season.
But she still finds opportunities to put the ball in the basket.
Marcum led the Bulldogs with 27 points in New Albany’s (8-8) 55-49 win over Charlestown in the Doghouse on Tuesday and drew the admiration of Pirate coach Sam Terrell, whose squad came close but couldn’t pull out the win.
“Well, they have an outstanding player in Tanner Marcum and she’s been great during the second half of the season,” said Terrell, whose squad fell to 7-9 in the loss. “I thought we did a good job on her in the first half, and even into the third quarter. But she got loose for a couple of three-pointers and that really helped them get the win.”
The matchup between the two squads was a see-saw affair that saw a dozen lead changes at the end of the first half and through the first quarter. Charlestown’s last lead came at 39-38 after center Emily Young put in a loose ball from in close with 6:24 remaining in the contest.
Marcum, who nailed all three of her 3-point attempts, then followed Young’s basket by sinking a 3-pointer from the right baseline after being chased by a Charlestown defender. She notched another 3-point basket from the top of the key to give the Bulldogs a 44-40 lead with just over five minutes remaining.
Charlestown would close to within a point at 48-47 after Kaitlynn Henning sank two free throws with 3:01 left in the game, but a short jumper by Marcum and putback by Lauren Camm allowed the Bulldogs the cushion to put the game away at the free throw line in the closing minute of play.
Meanwhile, Charlestown had difficulty finding the basket over the final five minutes in the contest, going 1 of 8 from the field during that timeframe.
Henning led the Pirates with 21 points, and Justice Burdin, who scored 18 points, only managed two in the second half despite hurting the Bulldogs as Charlestown mounted a 26-25 halftime lead.
New Albany coach Tammy Geron said she felt her squad played good defense, but most of all took a smarter approach in the second half. The Bulldogs built a 23-15 lead in the second quarter, but behind Burdin, who scored eight points for the Pirates over the final 4:47 of the first half, fell behind going into intermission.
“We just needed to be more disciplined on the defensive end,” Geron said. “We just kind of got out of sorts in the second quarter. I was really disappointed in our execution. We’ve spent a lot of time working on our offense, so we had to make some adjustments, and that can be tough, especially when you have some younger kids.”
New Albany starting forward Brianne Nixon was sidelined for most of the contest with an illness, but in her place reserve Aalyiah Bell and starter Lauren Camm picked up the slack, combining for 18 points.
New Albany faces archrival Jeffersonville in Johnson Arena on Friday night. Charlestown hosts Salem Thursday. Because Salem does not have a junior varsity, the varsity tip between the Pirates and Lions has been rescheduled for 6:30 p.m.