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FC downs NH in 2OT thriller

FC downs NH in 2OT thriller
FC downs NH in 2OT thriller
North HarrisonÂ’s Tyler Bement dribbles up the floor for the Cougars at Floyd Central Saturday. The Highlanders came away with a double-overtime victory. Photo by Ross Schulz (click for larger version)

The Floyd Central Highlanders ended a six-game skid in thrilling fashion Saturday night with a double overtime escape at home against North Harrison, 78-77.
After withstanding a last-second shot attempt by Cory Smith at the end of regulation and a Joseph Hinton jumper at the end of the first overtime, it looked as though Floyd Central had taken full control in the double-overtime session with a 75-68 lead with a little more than a minute remaining.
But the way the teams battled down the stretch and in the first overtime, there was no way the game was going to end that easily.
A Tyler Cockerham deuce, a Smith free throw and an Austin Nolot triple in less than a minute brought North Harrison to within one point, 75-74. The Cougars then tried to get a steal or foul with the clock ticking under 20 seconds, but left Highlander guard Aiden Cora wide open at the three-point line. Hanging on to a one-point lead, Cora surprisingly fired the three ball and it was nothing but net. Floyd Central took a four-point lead with only 14 seconds to play and again looked to have the game under wraps, finally, until Hinton buried a quick trey, but only 2.6 seconds remained.
Smith quickly fouled Cora, his fifth, making him the third Cougar to be disqualified because of fouls. Cora missed the first free throw, and then was told by coach Randy Gianfagna to intentionally miss the second with only 1.1 seconds remaining. He did so, throwing it hard off the backboard and grazing the rim, but he also committed a lane violation when he immediately went after the ball, giving North Harrison one final crack at the game. But, after a long inbounds pass was deflected, a desperation heave was not close.
The nail-biter ended with Floyd Central (3-10) concluding a six-game losing streak and snapping a five-game winning streak for North Harrison (7-4).
Gianfagna, who coached for many years at Corydon Central (North Harrison’s county-rival), said he has coached in many good games against the Cougars and this one ranks right there at the top.
‘It was a very exciting game,’ Gianfagna said. ‘We were lucky to survive with them having a last-second shot twice.’
Gianfagna said his team, which lost by 20 to 4A No. 13 Jeffersonville the night before, took a step in the right direction and definitely improved during the course of the weekend.
‘It was a good win; we were down 10 at one point and down seven heading into the fourth quarter,’ he said.
The Highlanders were led by Drew Hussung, who finished with 17 points and was the main offensive threat late in the game and in the overtime periods, scoring 11 of the team’s 19 in the extra frames.
Zane Nichols also contributed 13, including a 9-for-9 effort from the free-throw line, and Colton Kimm also had 13.
Tyler Bement led North Harrison with 19, and Smith poured in 17. Hinton contributed 15, John Martin 10 and Austin Nolot 9.
Smith scored 9 in the opening quarter to give the Cougars a 20-15 lead, but Gianfagna said the Highlanders did a better job on Smith from that point on, particularly in the second half.
Nolot also made life difficult for Floyd Central with multiple blocked and deflected shots.
North Harrison will face county-rival Lanesville Friday in Ramsey.