By JON REITER
NEW ALBANY —
In the battle for Floyd County girls’ basketball supremacy, the host New Albany Bulldogs outlasted rival Floyd Central to capture a 69-64 double-overtime win at the Doghouse last night.
“We got some big plays in those last two overtime periods when we had to have them, and not from just Tanner [Marcum],” said New Albany coach Tammy Geron. “We’ve talked about that, not just standing around, but becoming an active part of the ballgame. And I feel like we got that from a few people tonight, and boy did we need it.”
The Bulldogs came into Saturday’s contest having dropped four of their last five contests, and Geron said the win over the Highlanders (8-6) was a “must-have.”
And, as in other instances where New Albany has needed a play, a shot — or anything else — the difference came from Marcum, the 5-foot-6 senior guard and All-State candidate.
Marcum notched her 1,000th point as a Bulldog in a loss to Madison earlier this week and scored 38 points against the Cubs. All Marcum did was follow that up with 32 last night — including 16 in combined in the two overtime periods.
After Brooke Hinton sank two free throws to make the score 58-56 Floyd Central with 3:20 left in the second overtime period, Marcum nailed a 3-pointer, scored off a backdoor cut and feed from forward Lauren Camm, and made 2-of-3 free throws over the course of a minute to give New Albany a 63-58 lead with 2 minutes remaining.
The sudden scoring burst finally put the Highlanders down for good in a wild contest that saw almost two dozen lead changes and a combined six players foul out from both squads.
Floyd Central coach Kirk Hamsley expressed some grudging respect for Marcum’s play.
“For her to be able to play that aggressively on defense and pick up so few fouls over the course of the game is pretty special,” he said.
By the time the game was over, starters Madison Kaiser, Hinton and Niki Bruno, who combined for 34 points and 25 rebounds, were disqualified due to fouls, along with top reserve Abbie Engle.
Hamsley said that amount of slack was too much for his squad to pick up.
“By the time the game was over, we had three freshmen in and others who don’t normally see that much playing time,” he said. “It’s good for them to get that experience, but it sure did hurt us in this game.”
New Albany starters Claire Hirsch and Brianne Nixon also fouled out, but a key contributor for the Bulldogs was freshman Aaliyah Bell, who finished with 10 points.
“This was probably Aaliyah’s best game for us, and it came at a time when we really needed her to step up,” Geron said. “For a freshman to come through like that in a big ballgame ... it’s going to give her a big confidence boost.”
Tori Kingsley led Floyd Central with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
New Albany plays at South Oldham (Ky.) Tuesday night. Floyd Central hosts Bedford North Lawrence in another Hoosier Hills Conference game on Saturday.