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For the third consecutive year, the Bulldogs finish division play as tournament champions, but it did not come easily in the 2-4A boys title game on Friday.
Despite leading for a majority of the game, the Bulldogs had to go to overtime to top Rosa Fort, 79-72.
“It’s big, and I’m very proud of these kids, but I’m extremely proud of Daniel Drummond,” coach Brad Gray said. “The kid has worked hard for me for the last four years. I hate he fouled out tonight, but he’s led us all year, and I’m glad he was able to finish out division play like this.”
Drummond scored all five of his points in the first quarter, helping the ‘Dawgs to a 14-8 lead.
John Ankston later hit a three in the second quarter, and scored nine points for the Lions in the frame, giving them a 31-30 edge at the half.
The Bulldogs came out in the third quarter, outscoring Rosa Fort, 18-11 and maintained its lead until a triple by Billy Jackson tied the game at 60 late in the fourth.
In the overtime period, New Albany had the first seven points, going ahead 39-32, and Moses Kingsley scored eight points, giving the tournament title to the ‘Dawgs.
Kingsley led the Bulldogs with 23 points, followed by 20 from Eric Chaney. Marcus Reed also had 13 points for New Albany, who will host Kosciusko from Region 4-4A on Tuesday night.
Jackson led Rosa Fort with 21 points.
New Albany 49 Lafayette 47 (girls)
In the girls’ consolation game, Alisha Smith stepped up for the absent Jazmine Spears, scoring 24 points and helping the Lady Bulldogs come from behind to take the third seed in the division.
Down by as many as 13 in the third quarter, Smith scored 17 of her points in the second half, hitting 11-of-12 free throws.
“We knew when we came in the gym that we had to do this for Jazmine,” the senior said. “The first half was shaky, but Coach Stroud gave us a pep talk and we were able to get it together after that.”
“Our confidence is on 10 now.”
Smith tied the game at 40 in the final frame and later gave the Lady ‘Dawgs the lead off her free throws. New Albany outscored the Lady Commodores, 22-9, in the fourth quarter.
“When you win a division game without your best player, it’s a big confidence booster for the girls,” coach John Stroud said. “You don’t know what to expect with 16, 17 year-old kids. Yesterday we had her, and they didn’t show up, but today they decided to play.”
Erin Michael Carter had 14 points for New Albany, while Mykira Buford and Tiffany Ragsdale each had 10 points to lead Lafayette.
The Lady Bulldogs will be on the road on Monday, playing at Noxubee County. It is unknown at this time if Spears, who is out with an illness, will be available for the game.
Union County scores from Friday, Feb. 10
Ashland 55 Myrtle 50 (girls)
Ingomar 66 Myrtle 49 (boys)
Baldwyn 67 East Union 39 (boys)