NEW ALBANY, Ohio -- In an intriguing battle in the OCC-Capital, Newark proved to be road warriors, bouncing back from an upset loss to Dublin Jerome last week as it took down the host Eagles, 69-55.
New Albany started the game off hot behind seven points from sophomore Justin Perry in an 11-3 opening run.
Jaden Woods kept Newark afloat with seven first quarter points of his own to trim the deficit to five points at 14-9.
Newark junior Kade Bafford provided a huge spark in the second quarter where he went on a 7-0 run by himself. Newark fed off the momentum finishing the quarter on a 13-2 run to take a 28-20 lead into the halftime break.
Perry picked up where he left off in the first quarter as he really started to heat up pouring in 11 points in the third quarter. New Albany fed off his energy and was able to gain a ton of momentum as Jayden Lewis’s layup cut the deficit to just four points heading into the final frame.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, that’s as close as they would get as Newark opened it up behind the stellar play from junior guard Drew Ballinger who led all scorers with 24 points.
In a balanced offensive attack, Woods and Bafford each had 14 points, while Bobby Crenshaw also finished in double figures with 10.
Perry led New Albany in scoring with 23 points while Lewis added 12 points.
Newark will look to keep rolling as it heads on the road for a tough non-league matchup against former divisional foe Reynoldsburg.
For New Albany, the Eagles will hit the road and head to Westerville North on Tuesday.
Drew Ballinger (6’3 G / Newark / 2021): Ballinger showed why he’s regarded as one of the best shooters in the area. He made defenders pay for giving him the slightest bit of space as he knocked down four threes. Ballinger was also a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line in one of his best showings of his career. Although we’ve mentioned Ballinger’s deadeye shooting ability countless times, what stood out the most was his ability to get to the basket, either in the halfcourt or in transition where he showed off impressive body control on some nifty finishes. The more confident Ballinger gets with creating for himself off the dribble, the scarier he’ll be for opposing players. Defensively he played well applying good on ball pressure and finishing possessions on the glass where he came up with six rebounds.
Justin Perry (6’5 WG / New Albany /2022): The lengthy sophomore is one of the lesser talked about ‘22 prospects, however, he is one of the best that we've seen yet. Perry put us on full notice as he went off for a team-high 23 points. He showed off his catch and shoot game as he knocked down several mid range jumpers and a three. The sophomore wing showed off his ability to play off the ball as he scored on a number of hard cuts on several occasions finishing through or over defenders as he connected on a pair of alley oop layup finishes. Talking to some of the New Albany staff, they mentioned that they've always seen this kind of potential from him, which makes Friday's showing nice to see. Perry is definitely a guy to keep a close eye on over the next three years.
Jaden Woods (6’5 WG / Newark /2020): Woods showed off his slashing ability in Newark's win on Friday. A lot of the sets ended with him in elbow isolation situations and he was simply too much to handle as he finished through contact time and time again. One of the more impressive parts to his game was his willingness to not force things. After getting off to a hot start, Woods saw a lot of help and sometimes double teams coming his way, but the senior always made the right play getting the ball to open teammates as he ended up with four assists. Defensively he was always in help and made some great rotations, one of which was late in the fourth quarter where he took a charge and killed any momentum New Albany may have had.
Chris Benseler (6’4 W / New Albany / 2020) Chris plays the game with extremely high IQ, as Benseler spent Friday making the right plays, delivering the extra pass and finishing with a team-high four assists. Whatever the team needed, Benseler provided. He scored a very efficient 10 points mostly off catch and shoot opportunities. Defensively he was really active in the passing lanes where came up with three steals.
Kade Bafford (6’1 G / Newark / 2021): Kade is exactly what you expect out of any player let alone a point guard who has started since he was a freshman. Heady, leader and tough as nails all describe the junior guard. He showed off all of those traits Friday as Bafford picked up the scoring load early when his team was stagnant. He drove to the basket fearlessly for some tough finishes. The junior guard showed off his range as well where he buried a three off a catch and shoot.
Bobby Crenshaw (6’2 G / Newark / 2020): Crenshaw set the tone defensively as he picked up his matchup 94 feet all game long. The senior was a hound on the ball and took care of the defensive glass where he pulled down five rebounds. Offensively he slashed to the rim for 10 points. The senior is one of the best point of attack defenders in the area thanks to his unique combination of speed, quickness and explosiveness. As Crenshaw continues to add to his offensive game, we look forward to seeing what type of player he can become.