Lady Highlanders blitz South Central
Wade Bell, Sports Writer
The Floyd Central Lady Highlanders began the girls’ basketball season with a dominating win over visiting South Central last Wednesday night in a 57-21 victory. Both teams had to shake off some nerves early, but a big second quarter helped the Lady Highlanders secure their first win of the season.
“A lot of people got their feet wet,” said Floyd Central coach Randy Gianfagna. “That’s a big thing. We got a lot of kids playing minutes and in a varsity game so that was probably the biggest thing.”
“We just haven’t had a lot of time with volleyball,” said South Central coach Lynne Thomas. “Some of my girls play volleyball. We’ve only had 12 days of actual practice. Plus, we’re learning a new system, and I have a few girls who have never played before and a few who haven’t played in a few years, so we definitely have a lot of fundamental work to do. We’ve got a lot of skill building, and that’s our focus for the year.”
Both teams showed some nerves in the first quarter with missed shots and turnovers. Keegan Kaiser banged in the first points of the game for Floyd Central. Moments later, South Central went on the board when Lily Boley drilled a 3-ball from nearly 30 feet. Grace Suer countered inside, and Kaiser hit a jumper to put Floyd Central on top by three. The Lady Highlanders continued their momentum to later lead by nine, 12-3. Boley drilled another long triple from the same distance, and Floyd Central had a six-point lead after one quarter.
The Lady Rebels hit a Titanic-size iceberg in the second quarter, missing all of their 10 shots from the field. Floyd Central didn’t shoot the ball that well either, hitting 6 of 17 but blanked out South Central in a 14-0 second-quarter run to lead to 28-6 at the half.
“We talked a lot at halftime about shot selection,” said Thomas. “We lack a lot of game experience at this point because I don’t have a lot of girls who’ve played at the varsity level. So, our shot selection isn’t fantastic. But, when we do have our feet set and are ready to shoot, we do a pretty good job.”
Floyd Central was looking to gain experience as well.
“We only have three girls with varsity experience,” said Gianfagna. “We have some older girls, but they don’t have varsity experience. They’re packed in the zone and your first shot doesn’t go in, but then you get a little bit off your defense and that helps things go and you go from there.”
South Central struggled through the third quarter, hitting just one of its five shots. Floyd Central, meanwhile began the period with a 14-1 run as Fosskuhl, Suer and Kaiser drilled three straight from behind the arc to lead 41-7. The Lady Rebels had a better fourth quarter with some shots starting to fall from the perimeter, but they were too little too late as the Lady Highlanders went on to get the 57-21 win.
“We just keep getting better,” said Gianfagna. “Grace Suer keeps growing. When we first got her, I think she was 5-5 so that’s kind of nice. Usually girls don’t grow a lot in high school. (Callie Jo) Celichowski is about 5-10, so she could be about 6-2 by the time it’s said and done. She just missed some bunnies tonight that we think she will make later on in the year.”
Kaiser led the Lady Highlanders with 15 for the game, and Suer followed with 11. Fosskuhl added 10 for Floyd Central, which connected on 22 of 38 from the field (58%) and 5 of 7 free throws. The Lady Highlanders had just nine turnovers.
“We have speed at three positions, and that’s pretty good,” Gianfagna said. “That’s one of the big things. Our girls did what they do well, between Kalissa, Keegan and Suer.”
Boley paced the Lady Rebels with 14 points, connecting four times from behind the arc. South Central was just 5 of 29 from the field (17%) and 3 of 6 from the charity stripe. The Lady Rebels had 27 turnovers.
“She’s come a long way,” Thomas said of Boley. “She spent the summer playing for an AAU team. I’ve kind of put her in a new role as the point. She’s trying to make her way into that role so, hopefully, a couple of games in she’ll be a little more comfortable with that.”
“I didn’t realize she could shoot it,” said Gianfagna of Boley. “She hit two from 8 feet behind the volleyball line. That was their only six points in the first half. We said after the second one, ‘OK, let’s go find her.’ They only had 3-point shots. That’s all they had except for free throws.”
Gianfagna was proud of the work on the defensive end.
“We tried to get as many deflections as we could and get in passing lanes, and the girls’ energy brought our offense for the last part of it,” he said.
Thomas said her team will have to learn how the handle pressure situations.
“We really need to handle pressure a lot better,” she said. “We couldn’t handle their pressure. They were super aggressive, and I don’t think we were quite ready for that.”
South Central 6 0 4 11 – 21
Floyd Central 12 14 15 16 – 57
South Central (0-1) – Kiper 3, Goodwin 3, Boley 14, Faith 1.
Floyd Central (1-0) – Fosskuhl 10, Gasaway 5, Kaiser 15, Hess 6, Brown 5, Suer 11, Celichowski 5.
3-point goals – South Central 6 (Boley 4, Kiper, Goodwin); Floyd Central 8 (Kaiser 2, Hess 2, Fosskuhl, Gasaway, Brown, Suer).