NEW ALBANY — New Albany flexed its muscle Saturday night at the Doghouse.
The Bulldogs captured their 15th consecutive victory over Scottsburg by way of a 48-33 decision behind their stout defense. They forced 15 turnovers and held the Warriors to 38-percent shooting while going 50 percent from inside the arc and assisting on 11 of 16 made shots. That pressure sparked an 11-3 run that gave the Bulldogs a sizable cushion late.
Jordan Thomas led the way with 19 points on 9-for-11 shooting for New Albany, which improved to 8-5. Tucker Biven and Kaden Stanton each added 10, with Stanton also dishing out five assists. Scottsburg hasn’t beaten the Bulldogs since Jan. 15, 2005.
With Saturday’s result, along with Friday’s win at upstart Madison, Jim Shannon’s bunch has now won four of its past five games — the lone loss in that span coming against Jeffersonville in overtime.
“I thought we got them a little sped up, more than they're probably used to,” Shannon said. “But they’ve played a great schedule. They’ve played some top-notch teams. … Our intensity was really good, I like that part of it. I thought we really scored the ball well in the second quarter. [We] really found a niche going inside to Jordan Thomas. They just didn’t have the size to match up with him. But they made some adjustments at halftime and took us out of that. We only scored five points in the third quarter. … Our kids are learning.”
Scottsburg led 4-3 two-and-a-half minutes into the game before the Bulldogs orchestrated a 9-0 run, which featured a pair of 3-pointers by Biven. New Albany hit three first-quarter 3s and ended the period with a 12-6 lead.
Maddox Schmelz forced two turnovers early in the second period, one of which led to an easy dunk for Thomas and upped the lead to 18-8 with 5:12 left until the half. Thomas’ fifth consecutive basket to start the game made for a 22-8 lead and 19-4 run with less than four minutes showing. The hosts took a 26-12 lead into the break. New Albany forced nine first-half turnovers and held the Warriors to 27-percent shooting.
The Bulldogs went cold in the third period after their second-quarter run. Trey Hourigan’s third assist on a cut by Biven gave New Albany a 28-14 lead, which stood until the midway point of the period. It increased to 29-14 before Scottsburg’s 9-2 run to end the frame, which prompted a Shannon timeout up 10 with 1:15 left. The deficit was cut to six to start the fourth, but the Bulldogs had an answer.
An alley-oop from Stanton to Thomas and a layup from Julien Hunter, who logged his fourth game back from injury, also off a pass from Stanton, extended the lead to 35-27 with 4:02 to play. Stanton drilled one free throw, forced a turnover, and drilled two more foul shots to cap a game-shifting 11-3 run with less than a minute-and-a-half left.
“I thought [Scottsburg] played well,” Shannon said. “I thought they played hard. I thought their defense was really good. … They didn’t back down. They’re a good team. They’re capable of winning a lot of games and upsetting some people.”
Next up for New Albany is a clash at Class 3A No. 1 Silver Creek on Friday night. The Dragons, ranked No. 6 in the statewide coaches poll, ended a 24-game losing streak to the Bulldogs and nabbed their first win at The Doghouse last season. Scottsburg will travel to Clarksville for a Mid-Southern Conference clash Friday.
“You’re just going to have to prepare for a team that’s of the same caliber of Jeff, Floyd, Carmel, those top-tier teams that are ranked anywhere from the top five to the top 20,” Shannon said of Creek. “ … They have two Division I players for sure, and probably a third. … That’s about what Jeff has. When you go up against three Division I kids, it makes it tough. But I think our kids will rise to the occasion.”