By KEVIN HARRIS
NEW ALBANY —
This is not the way you want to enter the postseason.
In front of a Senior Night crowd, New Albany shot a dismal 42.1 percent from the floor (16-of-38) on Friday at The Doghouse and lost to Bloomington North in its regular-season finale, 56-47.
The Cougars (12-8) ended the Bulldogs’ five-game winning streak as New Albany scored in the 40s for the second straight game. The Bulldogs will try to get their offense kick-started at about 7:30 on Tuesday night when they face Seymour (2-18) in the first round of the Class 4A Seymour Sectional at Scott Gym.
“They were quicker and they played really well, and we didn’t play very well,” New Albany coach Jim Shannon said. “I expected it to be a really good game. We just didn’t play well. We’ve got to put it behind us and get ready for Seymour on Tuesday.”
Bloomington North extended its lead to double digits at halftime, leading 36-25 thanks to back-to-back buckets by junior Tyler Truesdel and sophomore Drew Ludwig. Truesdel then hit a basket to start the third period to give the Cougars a 13-point advantage at 38-25.
The Bulldogs (13-7) made a run after that.
They went to a quicker lineup, inserting seldom-used guard Chad Hudson and junior guard Leondre McBirth. As a result, New Albany ended the quarter on a 10-2 run to trim its deficit to 40-35.
The Bulldogs tallied the first eight points of the spurt. Hudson scored four points during the run and McBirth concluded the eight-point run with a steal and layup. After a pair of free throws by North’s Saikou Jallow, New Albany senior Anthony Edwards converted a layup to get the Cougar lead down to five.
The Bulldogs’ defense helped them get back into the game. North only scored four points and missed 11 of 12 shots in the stanza.
“Those kids went in there and made a difference, especially Chad,” Shannon said.
But five points was the closest New Albany got to the Cougars.
North quickly got four points to start the fourth, which began a 13-4 run to it a 53-39 lead and put the game away. In the stanza, the Cougars shot 4-of-5 from the floor and 8-of-10 from the free-throw line.
“It just seemed that the bounces didn’t go our way tonight, and we were step slow,” Shannon said. “We just played poorly — we just did not play well.”
North had four players score in double figures. Junior guard Grant Sims had a game-high 15 points, followed by Jallow with 12. Sophomore guard Ken Montgomery scored 11 and Truesdel poured in 10.
“They’re good,” Shannon said. “They’re a nice balllclub. I tried to convince our kids that they were really good. Their guards are outstanding. [Sims] is a nice player. They can cause a lot of problems for people.”
New Albany senior guard Jermaine Parrish tallied a team-high 11 points, but he went scoreless in the second half. Hudson scored 10 points off the bench, all coming in the second half, while Bulldog senior Garrett Arnold chipped in eight.
Shannon praised Hudson’s effort afterwards.
“I thought he played real well coming off the bench,” Shannon said. “He played real well. He’s a sophomore, he got 10 points and he guarded [Sims] and held him down pretty good. That was a bright spot.”
New Albany’s six seniors were honored before the Friday’s game. The seniors are Arnold, Parrish, Edwards, Josh Rogers, Louis Donastorg and Conner Henes.
Note: Prior to the game on Friday night, New Albany High School honored longtime NAHS teacher and manager of the school’s radio station (WNAS-FM), Lee Kelly, for his 40 years at the school. Kelly has been a part of the WNAS broadcasts of Bulldogs’ high school games throughout his tenure. Kelly received a plaque for his work on Friday, as he will be retiring at the end of the school year.