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March 10, 2014

HARDWOOD AFTERMATH: Revisiting Dragons’ unforgettable run

Hibbard comes through for New Albany

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — The best word to describe Silver Creek’s run to a Class 3A North Harrison Sectional championship is simply “unbelievable.”

The young Dragons got the worst draw possible, but they knocked off No. 13 Madison 55-51, blew out No. 6 Corydon Central 74-51 and shocked No. 7 Brownstown Central 37-36 for their first sectional title since 2000.

“You know what, it’s still unbelievable to us,” Creek coach Brandon Hoffman said. “We kind of knew that [winning the sectional] next year was what people thought. Our motto was kind of ‘Why not us.’ Wouldn’t it be really cool if we knock off these three teams and do something special?”

At any point in the season against any draw, the Dragons knew that they’d have to win the sectional as underdogs. After losing their first three games of the regular season — and four of their last five — they became serious underdogs.

The regular season concluded with a 61-51 home loss to Seymour, a team that was 2-16 entering the game.

“It was a combination of a lot of things,” Hoffman explained. “I think it was fatigue. I think it was frustration. [Center Christian] Reed didn’t play the last week. It was definitely a low period for us. But even after we lost to Seymour, [senior Brooks Howell] stood up in the lockerroom and said ‘Let’s forget about this. We’re going to win the sectional.’”

— Sports editor Greg Mengelt


Freshman Isaac Hibbard showed in Saturday night’s Class 4A Seymour Sectional championship game that his future is bright at New Albany.

The 5-foot-9 guard scored nine of his 12 points in the final quarter in the Bulldogs’ 55-49 victory over Jennings County. Hibbard hit two 3-pointers early in the period and then converted a crucial three-point play to help New Albany build a 48-40 advantage with about five minutes remaining in regulation.

“[Bulldogs’ senior Leondre McBirth] found him and he hit two big shots for us,” New Albany senior guard Dustin Cochran said about Hibbard. “We just took the momentum away from them.”

Hibbard showed some maturity and poise late in the contest when he inbounded the ball without incident against the Panthers’ full-court press. In fact, with 31.8 seconds left in the fourth and New Albany up 51-47, Hibbard calmly called a timeout when he could not find an open teammate while trying to inbound the ball.

“I think Hibbard has ice water in his veins. He does not fold under pressure,” Bulldogs’ coach Jim Shannon said. “Sometimes I can look at kids and they fold, but that kid can take it. I give it to them and I know he can take it. He’s the leader of the future for us and he certainly gave us some leadership tonight.”

Saturday’s fourth-quarter performance was one of several examples this season where Hibbard has elevated his game to help New Albany succeed.

“What can you say about the Hibbard kid?” Shannon said. “I mean, my gosh, he’s a freshman and he’s stepped up big in every game.”

— Staff writer Kevin Harris

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