BY DAVID WHEELER
Special to the Journal
SHANNON - The New Albany Lady Bulldogs like to think a strength of their game is inside.
So do the Shannon Lady Raiders.
On Tuesday. in a key Region 1-4A contest, the Lady Bulldogs were the irresistible force, capturing a 56-49 victory.
"Our strength has always been inside," said New Albany coach John Stroud, whose Lady Bulldogs improved to 18-1, and 3-0 in region play. "We had some big offensive rebounds late that might have decided it."
With a rebounding edge of 41-29, with 21 offensive boards, New Albany post players Jazmine Spears and Micha Washington certainly contributed to the winning effort.
That effort required holding off the Lady Raiders (6-9, 2-2) early in the fourth quarter. New Albany entered the period with a 37-32 advantage, but Shannon was able to cut the margin to one point twice.
The first was on a Denesha Beene basket that cut the lead to 37-36. The second was on two free throws by center Brianna Fells with 5 minutes, 11 seconds remaining that made the score 41-40.
But New Albany handled the pressure.
A 7-0 run saw key rebounds and putbacks by Spears and Washington, with a Spears free throw with 2:49 left giving the Lady Bulldogs a 48-40 lead. Shannon could never seriously dent that margin in the remaining time.
"Rebounding was key tonight, plain and simple," Shannon coach Wesley McKay said. "I'm proud of how hard the girls played."
Spears totaled 20 points with 16 rebounds, while Washington added 17 and 9 for New Albany. Keta Watkins paced Shannon with 19.
New Albany led 28-24 at the half.
(B) Shannon 66, New Albany 45
Another 1-4A squad remained undefeated within the region as the Shannon Red Raiders gradually pulled away in this contest.
Shannon 10-8, 4-0, was leading 29-20 at the half, but really bore down in the third quarter, and held a comfortable 51-32 margin going into the final period.
"We've begun to shoot the ball better," Shannon coach Cedric Brim said. "We still have to keep getting better defensively the next couple of weeks."
William Green paced Shannon with 20, while Todd Gamble hit 17 to lead New Albany.