NEW ALBANY, Ind. — New Albany led by as many as 28 points in the second half before withstanding a late run by Bloomington North and holding off the Cougars 79-71 Friday night.
“It’s one of those things,” said New Albany coach Jim Shannon. “It’s the end of the season and you’ve pretty much got the game won. You’ve got to clear your bench and play everybody.
“They’ve still got their best players out there against our kids who don’t play as much. … I understand. They’re trying to come back. … Our starters came out and we still squandered a big lead. … I told the kids not to worry about that.”
The Bulldogs (21-3), ranked No. 2 in Class 4A, led 72-52 after Isaac Hibbard hit two free throws with 2:11 left. The Cougars (12-9) kept plugging away and cut it to 77-71 on back-to-back 3-pointers from Jack Townsend and Tim Brewster with just five seconds left. After a quick foul, New Albany’s Peyton Martin hit two free throws with 1.9 seconds left.
New Albany took control in the second quarter. The Bulldogs used a 20-0 spurt in the first half to pull away from the Cougars, who tied it at 19-all on a 3-pointer from Brewster with 1:24 left in the first quarter. It took North nearly eight minutes to score again.
When Isaac Hibbard hit a 3-pointer with 2:09 left, New Albany completed its 20-point run and led 39-19. North scored the final seven points of the first half, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer from David Morgan.
Romeo Langford led the Bulldogs with 28 points, scoring 11 points in the third quarter. Hibbard, playing his final game on New Albany’s home floor, added 17 points. With those 17, Hibbard moved into the top 10 on the school’s scoring list, passing Lamont Roland, who played for New Albany from 1992-96.
“It’s a great honor because there have been a lot of great players who have come through New Albany and played in this gym,” Hibbard said. “To know all your hard work paid off and get in the top 10, it’s a big accomplishment for me.”
Hibbard now has 1,089 career points. Sean East added 12 points for the Bulldogs. Musa Jallow, one of the top juniors in Indiana, led the Cougars with 24 points. He scored 12 of those in the fourth quarter.
NEW ALBANY 79, BLOOMINGTON NORTH 71
NEW ALBANY (21-3)
Romeo Langford 28p; Peyton Martin 5p; Sean East 12p; Derrick Stevenson 7p; Savion Southers 2p; Isaac Hibbard 17p; Julien Hunter 4p; Seth Short 2p; Trey Hourigan 2p.
David Morgan 5p; Sean Rudder 2p; Liam Wilkerson 11p; Musa Jallow 24p; Tim Brewster 17p; Jack Townsend 9p Logan Calvin 3p.