By KEVIN HARRIS
NEW ALBANY —
Last weekend, the New Albany Bulldogs came close to picking up a pair of victories, but came up short each time.
On Friday night at The Doghouse, New Albany made sure to not let a victory slip away against archrival Floyd Central. The Bulldogs had three players score in double figures in their 88-37 triumph over the Highlanders.
It was the largest winning margin in series history. Plus Floyd Central (1-2, 0-1 Hoosier Hills Conference) came one point short of scoring the fewest points in rivalry history. The Highlanders scored a series-low 36 points in a 36-point loss to the Bulldogs in 2007.
New Albany (2-2, 1-1) extended its lead to 42-15 in its series with Floyd Central, as the Bulldogs won their 12th in a row over their Floyd County foe. It also was a milestone night for Bulldogs’ coach Jim Shannon as he earned his 250th victory at New Albany.
Shannon was happy to see his players bounce back after losing in double overtime at Columbus East last Friday (99-92) and at Class 4A No. 7 Evansville Harrison last Saturday (66-62).
“We played pretty well. We played good last weekend — we just didn’t finish,” Shannon said. “I don’t think we got outhustled and that’s one thing that concerned me about tonight.”
The New Albany player who stood out on Friday was Jermaine Parrish.
The senior point guard scored a game-high 23 points, as he showcased the improvement he has made in his perimeter shooting. Parrish was 6-of-7 from 3-point range.
“He’s getting better at it — that’s for sure,” Shannon said about Parrish’s outside game.
Entering the game, Floyd Central coach Randy Gianfagna was more concerned about New Albany senior Josh Rogers as an outside threat. But the veteran mentor did not expect that shooting display from Parrish.
“Our big key was to take Rogers out of the game. If we did that, I thought we’d be OK,” Gianfagna said. “We watched [Parrish] against Columbus East and he drove it in the paint a lot.”
New Albany junior Leondre McBirth and senior Garrett Arnold each tallied 15 points. Teammates Anthony Edwards and Javen Reeves each had eight points. Edwards grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.
Shannon likes the up-tempo style his Bulldogs are playing at the start of the 2012-13 campaign.
“That’s the way we want to play,” Shannon said. “I thought our bench did a fine job tonight. I just feel all the kids came to play tonight. We didn’t disrespect [the Highlanders] at all.”
New Albany took full control of the contest in the final two minutes of the first quarter. Leading 14-8, the Bulldogs went on a 10-0 run to extend their advantage to 24-8. Arnold capped off the spurt with five points, which included a layup and a three-point play.
New Albany’s lead grew to 36-14 midway through the second period when McBirth knocked down a 3-pointer.
Sophomore Jackson Logsdon got the Highlanders to within 14 points at 38-24 by nailing a 3. But Parrish answered with back-to-back trifectas to put the Bulldogs up 44-24 at halftime. Parrish scored 14 points in the first half, knocking down four 3-pointers.
“In the first half, we gave up 18 points off offensive rebounds. They shot it really well,” Gianfagna said. “Instead of them taking advantage of our turnovers in transition, they got buckets off missed shots in transition.”
Senior guard Drew Hussung was the only Floyd Central player to score in double figures with 13 points, shooting 6-of-17 from the field. Teammate Trevor Smith had six points and Highlander center Codie Hamsley grabbed a team-high six boards.
New Albany will host Corydon Central tonight. Floyd Central will travel to Columbus East next Friday for its next outing.