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A pleasant surprise for New Albany fans has been the recent play of the girls basketball team. Currently 8-0 with two games until division play, the Lady Bulldogs have performed well with a young team. Their most recent win came at Corinth last Tuesday, 70-60.
Corinth held a two-point lead after the first quarter, and led by one at the half. The Lady Bulldogs outscored Corinth in the third to take the lead and pick up their eighth win.
“We're excited about it,” head coach John Stroud said of the Lady Dawgs undefeated record. “It's a big achievement to be undefeated in December, but we're just taking it one game at a time. Each one is just another game. It's very positive for us to be doing so well with such a young team, and it's great because we've had different girls step up each game and perform well.”
Kabrina Lucas led the Lady Dawgs with 19 on the night, while Nyambi Penson followed with 17. Despite having such a young team - starting three sophomores and an eighth grader - Stroud has not had a problem keeping his team focused.
“They're a good group and they know each game is important,” Stroud explained. “They're staying focused, but they're excited. They have had a good effort playing so far this season, and it hasn't been hard to keep them focused. They understand the importance of each game and it's been fun.”
Stroud has been most impressed with how the youth of the team have performed so far, as well as the shooting of the team overall.
“We're shooting well right now, which is a surprise, but overall we have a great attitude,” Stroud said. “I'm most pleased with the play of our young players right now.”
One player in particular that has stood out is eighth grader Jazmine Spears. Spears has been a constant high scorer for the Lady Dawgs, and has performed well beyond her age.
“It's been a pleasant surprise to see how Jazmine has performed, and she is playing well against 17 and 18 year-olds,” Stroud said. “She has good hands and good instinct. She's always in the right place at the right time, and those types of things are hard to coach. She has a lot of good skills and I know she has a bright future ahead of her so long as she stays focused and continues to listen to her parents and her coach.”
Despite the good start, there are still some areas Stroud would like to work on, especially heading into division play next week when New Albany will host Tishomingo County.
“Rebounding is still an issue for us, as well as turnovers, so we would like to see some improvement there. We're turning the ball over more than we should be, so that's something to work on.We've been shooting pretty well, but we could be better in that area also,” Stroud said.
The Lady Dawgs will be on the road at Ripley on Tuesday and at Lafayette next Monday night before opening divisional play versus Tishomingo County on December 12.