By GREG MENGELT
NEW ALBANY — After Jacob Johanningsmeier resigned as Scottsburg’s coach on Thursday, former Warriors head coach Brady Wells was named his successor for the rest of the season on Friday.
As good as Wells was in 11 years as Scottsburg’s head coach — going 157-89 and winning three sectional titles — he had little time to prepare for the 2013-14 New Albany Bulldogs. His 5-6 Warriors had no chance and fell 77-57 on Saturday at the Doghouse.
Class 4A No. 16 New Albany (8-2) jumped out to a 17-2 lead and led by as much as 34-11 with 5:31 to go in the first half of the Bulldogs’ third straight win.
“We spent 90 minutes [together] this morning — literally, that was all our preparation,” Wells said.
Not good against a team like New Albany, which can beat opponents in so many different ways. On Saturday, 10 different Bulldogs scored, seven of them had at least five points. They shot 32 of 52 from the floor (61.5 percent) and hit half of their 20 3-point attempts.
“It’s a little bit of pick your poison,” Wells said of New Albany. “We played zone to try to make them try to knock down some perimeter shots — and they shot a good percentage.”
“We think that we do have some depth,” New Albany coach Jim Shannon said. “[Leading scorer] Dre [McBirth] I think was averaging 22 points coming into this weekend, but we’ve had some other kids step up and score some points. It’s not a problem for us. If we need Dre to score in order to win, then we want him to score. If we can still win by the same margin by sharing it more, that’s even better.”
It was 7-0 less than two minutes into the game. The Bulldogs made their first seven shots and had six steals in the first four minutes of the contest. New Albany led 24-11 after one period, going 10 for 12 from the floor and 4 of 5 from behind the 3-point arc.
“Any time you play a team that doesn’t have the talent that you do, you don’t want to give them any confidence,” Shannon said. “We jumped on them early and we set the tempo for the rest of the game. That’s what we asked our kids to do and they did that.”
“That was really important,” senior Dustin Cochran said of the start. “That’s one of the things we have to do.”
The Bulldogs forced seven turnovers in the first quarter — all on steals — and 16 through the first three quarters. New Albany forced the Warriors into 10 first half errors and took a 42-20 lead into the lockerrom.
“We’re really focusing on defense more than offense,” Cochran said.
“The biggest thing for us is we didn’t take care of the ball,” Wells said.
Cochran scored 17 points to lead the way for the Bulldogs. He went 7 for 12 from the field and also led New Albany with four assists and three steals.
“It just happened in the flow of the game,” Cochran said.
“Shots just came for him,” Shannon said of Cochran. “Dre wasn’t in there [much of the second half], so he was probably looking for it more.”
McBirth did manage 14 points. He made six of his eight field goal attempts and played about half of the game since the Bulldogs had such a big early lead.
Freshman Isaac Hibbard scored eight points. The 5-foot-9 reserve led New Albany with five boards. Davon Winburn finished off a nice weekend with seven points, three rebounds and a pair of blocked shots, Javen Reeves added six points and Jeff Byrne had five. Byrne tied Cochran with a game-high three steals.
There was one area particular area of concern for the Bulldogs. Scottsburg out-rebounded them 26-23 and had eight offensive boards despite just 39 field goal attempts.
Senior Kirk Hardin led all rebounders with nine, including three on the offensive end. Hardin also led the Warriors with 16 points.
“It’s got to get better,” Shannon said of the Bulldogs’ rebounding problems. “Blocking out has got to get better. I’ve been around a long time and I know that when you get up more than 20 points, it’s tough to keep up the intensity. For any person but particularly for kids.”
The other area that the Warriors had some success was at the foul line. Scottsburg went 17 of 19 from the stripe and made its first 16 attempts. Meanwhile, New Albany was just 1 of 3 for the contest.
“We have shot free throws well all year,” Well said. “I was real pleased that we did cash in on those.”
After falling behind 60-33 after three quarters, Wells watched his team outscored the Bulldogs 24-17 in the fourth.
“I was proud of the fact that our effort sustained itself throughout the game,” Wells said. “I thought our kids were able to battle and to fight and that’s what our kids need to be able to do on a consistent basis.”
Wells will fill in for Johanningsmeier, who went 12-40 in just over two years as head coach before resigning to become a full-time Scottsburg administrator on Thursday, for the rest of this season. Wells, who joined Johanningsmeier’s staff before the season to help as Johanningsmeier took the principal job at Scottsburg, hopes it continues after this year.
“Jake’s got a lot on his plate right now,” Wells said. “We’re going to play out the rest of the year and evaluate after that. I’ve enjoyed being back. [Taking the job on a full-time basis] would be something that I would consider. It’s been six years since I was [Scottsburg’s head coach]. Having spent six years [as a Hanover College assistant coach], I feel like I learned a lot in that time. There’s part of me that would like to see what I could do in a high school situation.”
The Bulldogs continue their stretch of three straight games against Mid-Southern Conference opponents when they host Charlestown (2-8) on Tuesday before going to Silver Creek (6-3) on Friday. Scottsburg hosts Class 2A No. 2 Clarksville (10-1) on Friday.
NEW ALBANY 77, SCOTTSBURG 57
Scottsburg 11 9 13 24—57
New Albany 24 18 18 17—77
Scottsburg (5-6): Michael Barber 1-2 0-0 2, Mitchell Meagher 0-1 4-4 4, Brandon Boswell 3-5 1-2 10, Cameron Schmidt 2-3 4-4 9, Seth Helton 0-4 0-0 0, Christian Evans 5-11 0-0 12, Braxton Soloe 0-3 0-0 0, Kirk Hardin 5-8 6-7 16, Christian Barrett 2-4 2-2 6. Totals 18-39 17-19 57.
New Albany (8-2): Dustin Cochran 7-12 0-0 17, Jeff Byrne 2-3 0-0 5, Davon Winburn 3-5 0-0 7, Javen Reeves 3-5 0-0 6, Leondre McBirth 6-8 0-0 14, Isaac Hibbard 3-6 0-0 8, Isaiah Hickman 4-5 0-0 8, Josh Jefferson 1-3 0-0 3, DeAnthony Warren 2-6 0-1 4, Adrian Pratt-Thomas 0-2 0-0 0, Seth Short 1-1 1-2 3, Nick White 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 32-52 1-3 77.
3-point field goals: Scottsburg 6-18 (Boswell 3-4, Evans 2-8 Schmidt 1-1, Barber 0-1, Soloe 0-1, Barrett 0-1, Helton 0-2); New Albany 10-20 (Cochran 3-8, McBirth 2-3, Hibbard 2-4, Byrne 1-1, Winburn 1-1, Jefferson 1-2, Pratt-Thomas 0-1).
Rebounds: Scottsburg 26 (Hardin 9); New Albany New Albany 23 (Hibbard 5).
Assists: Scottsburg 7 (Evans 4); New Albany 13 (Cochran 4).
Steals: Scottsburg 0; New Albany 14 (Cochran 3, Byrne 3).
Blocked shots: Scottsburg 1 (Soloe); New Albany 5 (Winburn 2).
Turnovers: Scottsburg 19, New Albany 6.
Team fouls: Scottsburg 7, New Albany 16.
Fouled out: None.
Technical fouls: None.