By KEVIN HARRIS
It was Senior Night for the Jeffersonville girls’ basketball team on Friday at Johnson Arena.
But New Albany’s lone senior stole the show from the Red Devils.
Tanner Marcum, last year’s News and Tribune Area Player of the Year, recorded game-highs in points (23), assists (eight) and steals (three) to lead the Bulldogs past archrival Jeff, 55-43. New Albany defeated Jeff for the second straight time and now leads the all-time series, 40-31.
The eight assists were Marcum’s most impressive statistic, as she found open teammates throughout the game. As a result, two other Bulldogs scored in double figures. Sophomores Lauren Camm and Brianne Nixon had 11 and 10 points, respectively.
At halftime with the Red Devils (6-12, 2-5 Hoosier Hills Conference), New Albany coach Tammy Geron stressed for someone to step up their scoring load besides Marcum. As a result, Nixon and Camm combined to score 14 points in the latter half, while Marcum chipped in 11.
“At halftime, I told the kids that we have to have other kids score. We have to have other kids look to be offensive threats,” Marcum said. “I thought we did that in the second half. She tells her teammates, ‘I’ll give you the ball, but you have to be willing to take the shot.’”
The Bulldogs (9-8, 4-2) took a 17-9 lead late in the first quarter when freshman Jenna Shine knocked down a 3-pointer. But Jeff responded with a 16-6 run to go up 25-23.
New Albany switched to a 2-3 zone defense in the second half, which helped the Bulldogs turn the tables.
After Jeff maintained its one-point lead at 36-35 at the end of the third quarter, New Albany went on a 9-0 run to go up 44-36 with 3:55 left in the fourth period. The Red Devils struggled mightily from the field at the start of the fourth, missing their first six shots.
Jeff coach Matt Pait said turnovers also had a big effect in the opening stages of the fourth.
“Of those six shots, I thought we got some decent looks. But we also turned it over a few times and took shots away from ourselves,” Pait said. “[The zone] slowed us down a little bit. But we got open shots against it. We just didn’t knock them down.”
Jeff cut New Albany’s advantage down to 48-43 with 2:12 left in regulation when senior guard Nichole Midgett nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
But New Albany sealed the victory with a 7-0 run with all seven points coming from Marcum. The triumph put the Bulldogs over .500 for the first time since Dec. 8.
“It’s huge. It puts us at 4-2 in the conference as well,” Geron said. “We have a goal to finish over .500. It’s a win we felt we needed to go get. We talked a lot to our kids about pride and this is a pride game. Anytime you can come here to Jeff and get a victory, it kind of makes you stand a little taller the next day.”
One Red Devil who had her production slow down by the Bulldog zone was Haley Vogen. The 6-foot junior center tallied a team-high 18 points for the game, but she scored only six in the second half.
“She hurt us in the first half. She’s a good ballplayer, so we wanted to keep her from getting [the ball] at that point,” Geron said. “We doubled down on her and allowed our guards to use their athleticism to defend a lot out front. I thought we did a nice job on her in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter.
“We went to the zone in the second half and we really felt we needed to put some pressure on their guards to make some shots. We challenged our kids to start blocking out because I told them that was the one thing that was going to win us the ballgame. And that’s what we did. We limited them to one shot and took advantage of the opportunities we had at the other end of the floor. We get the job done when we have to.”
Vogen was the only Jeff player to reach double figures, as she shot 8-of-11 from the field. She also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.
“She’s our best post player. We were trying to go inside because we thought we had an advantage there,” Pait said. “But when they went to zone, it was harder to get her shots inside. I thought she played a pretty good game tonight.
“I was happy with our effort all night long. But our execution was not that great.”
New Albany will visit Seymour on Thursday. Jeff will travel to Scottsburg on Tuesday.