By KEVIN HARRIS
NOBLESVILLE – New Albany held off a fourth-quarter rally by Crown Point to post a 61-59 victory in the first round of the seventh annual Noblesville Holiday Tournament on Thursday, Dec. 27 at The Mill.
Senior guard Derrick Stevenson paced New Albany (5-2) with 17 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Bulldog junior forward Julien Hunter registered a double-double with 14 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
Senior guard Landon Sprigler chipped in 10 points and four assists for the Dogs, while teammate Jordan Thomas had eight points, six rebounds and four blocked shots.
New Albany took its largest lead of the first half at 30-17 late in the second quarter as Stevenson converted a steal into a layup.
With New Albany up 32-20 at halftime, Crown Point (5-2) started the third period with a 13-4 run to slice its deficit to 37-33. But New Albany answered by closing the stanza with a 12-2 spurt to grab its biggest advantage of the game at 49-35.
“I felt like their kids never gave up. They hung in there,” New Albany head coach Jim Shannon said. “We didn’t get off to a very good start I didn’t think in the third quarter. We were a little lackadaisical to start the quarter. We felt we took some pretty good shots, but we didn’t make them. We felt we were giving them way too many easy shots. We got into a little foul trouble and put them on the line quite a bit.”
Crown Point began the fourth with six consecutive points to pull within 49-41. New Albany got its lead back up to 52-41 thanks to a Sprigler free throw and a Hunter basket.
However, Crown Point kept chipping away at its deficit. With less than three minutes left in regulation, senior Sam Snodgrass made a reverse layup to pull Crown Point within three at 54-51. That bucket capped off a 10-2 run.
Sprigler got New Albany’s advantage back to 57-51 with under two minutes remaining by knocking down a runner.
But Crown Point cut the New Albany lead down to three in the final 20.4 seconds. Snodgrass hit a pair of foul shots to get Crown Point within 58-55.
With 19.2 ticks left, senior guard Chris Johnson made two free throws to up New Albany’s lead back to five at 60-55. At the 10.7-second mark, though, Crown Point’s Ty Smith converted a layup to slice its deficit to 60-57.
Freshman Kaden Stanton hit a free throw with 8.6 seconds remaining to put New Albany up 61-57. Crown Point senior Elias Gerodemos made the final basket as time expired.
Shannon thought his players could have contained Crown Point’s comeback attempt if they would have hit their free throws in the fourth. New Albany shot 6-of-12 from the stripe in the final period and 10-of-19 for the game.
“In the fourth quarter, we basically thought we would spread them out a little bit and make them foul us, which they did,” Shannon said. “But we didn’t make our free throws. You’ve got to make them. I felt comfortable that we would go in there and put them in. But we missed too many. We’ve got to work on that.
“All in all, we played a good game against a good team. We’re happy to get out of here with a win.”
Gerodemos scored a game-high 22 points, while Snodgrass recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
New Albany wound up fourth in the tournament after losing two games on Friday, Dec. 28. It fell in the semifinals to Lawrence Central, 65-52. New Albany then lost the third-place game to Columbus North, 64-61.
For a complete post-game interview with New Albany head coach Jim Shannon, go to the following link:
NOBLESVILLE HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT
NEW ALBANY 61, CROWN POINT 59
New Albany 14 18 17 12-61
Crown Point 9 11 15 24-59
New Albany (5-2): Derrick Stevenson 8-14 1-2 17, Julien Hunter 6-10 2-7 14, Landon Sprigler 4-6 2-4 10, Jordan Thomas 4-5 0-0 8, Chris Johnson 1-3 2-2 4, Kaden Stanton 1-1 1-2 4, Tucker Biven 0-1 2-2 2, Trey Hourigan 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 25-42 10-19 61.
Crown Point (5-2): Elias Gerodemos 6-14 9-9 22, Sam Snodgrass 5-15 4-5 15, Ty Smith 3-5 1-2 7, Sam Decker 3-7 1-2 6, Matt Hanlon 2-4 1-1 5, Sam Krutz 2-6 0-2 4, Tyler Jeeninga 0-0 0-0 0, Ben Uran 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-52 16-21 59.
Three-point field goals: New Albany 1-5 (Stanton 1-1, Biven 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Stevenson 0-2); Crown Point 3-12 (Gerodemos 1-1, Decker 1-3, Snodgrass 1-5, Krutz 0-3).
Rebounds: New Albany 28 (Hunter 10); Crown Point 24 (Snodgrass 11).
Turnovers: New Albany 9, Crown Point 5.
Total fouls: New Albany 19, Crown Point 19.
Fouled out: Stevenson.
Technical fouls: New Albany bench.