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Lady Highlanders best Lady Panthers

Lady Highlanders best Lady Panthers
Lady Highlanders best Lady Panthers
Corydon Central’s Jaiden Cantrell (20) and Jessica Fulk (23) stuff a shot by Kennedy Emerson of Floyd Central after Emerson tripped over Cantrell’s foot in the second half of Saturday afternoon’s 47-40 loss to the Lady Highlanders. Photo by Alan Stewart
Alan Stewart, Contributing Writer

Floyd Central girls’ basketball coach Randy Gianfagna said two things his club has emphasized in recent weeks are rebounding and the three-point shot. With less than a week before sectional begins, there was no better time than Saturday afternoon to put his words into practice.

The host Lady Highlanders (6-13), who were coming off a 3-23 effort on the long ball Thursday against No. 1-ranked (Class 1A) Trinity Lutheran, canned six of 14 attempts beyond the arc. Although the overall rebounding total was tied with Corydon Central, offensive rebounds off of missed free throws late were pivotal in Floyd Central’s 47-41 victory.

“(Corydon Central) went up 5-0 to start the game because we missed two switches on defense and they got a three and an offensive rebound that led to a field goal. Our big thing was, at halftime, we were up one and they had 11 or 13 offensive rebounds. That was really frustrating,” Gianfagna said. “(Corydon Central’s Ava Weber) is a great offensive rebounder, and we had to put a body on her. We focused in during the second and third quarter and then late, the nice thing was every time it got to a one- or two-point game, we seemed like we could respond.”

“I hate to say it when you are taking check-out drills on free throws. At Bedford, we had two rebounds that we lost when it was a six- or eight-point game and they got threes off of those,” he said. “Maybe the extra practice paid off today.”

For the visiting Lady Panthers (9-10), it was the fourth straight loss and the third consecutive of seven points or less. The team went scoreless during the final 3:04 of the setback.

“We got a little stagnant offensively and were trying to pass around people instead of driving to the basket. We just weren’t attacking very well,” Corydon Central coach Josh Conrad said. “We had trouble reversing the basketball and were throwing it into (Floyd Central’s) hands, and you just can’t do that.

“We really just wanted to be aggressive with the ball on offense and be aggressive on defense and not just sit back and allow them to pass,” he said. “We wanted to try to get into a passing lane and disrupt the flow of their offense.”

Corydon Central led at the first stop, 11-6, but a pair of threes by Mandy Hess narrowed the margin and then Kendall Brown gave Floyd Central its first lead of the ballgame, 16-15, at the 4:39 mark of the second quarter. From there, a bucket by Corydon Central’s Weber just before the half-time buzzer was the only field goal either team could muster as the hosts took a 20-19 lead into the intermission.

The Lady Highlanders opened the second half on a 7-0 run on threes by Grace Suer, who led her team with 13 points, and Brown and a free throw by Callie Celichowski for a 27-19 lead.

Weber, who led all scorers with 16 points, notched her team’s first bucket of the third with 4:55 left, then Erwin drained another three. A Weber free throw cut Corydon Central’s deficit to two, but Keegan Kaiser had a nice step-through goal inside that was followed by a mid-range jumper to surge Floyd Central’s lead back to 31-25.

A trio of threes rained down in the final two minutes, with Erwin, who finished with 11 points, connecting for the first, followed by a triple from Brown and a bomb from Corydon Central’s Jessica Fulk to make it 34-31. Kaiser hit inside just before the final break for a 36-31 lead.

The Lady Panthers got to within two, 38-36, after Camdyn Oberholtzer came off the bench for a goal, with 4:24 remaining. Sophie Gasaway hit a big three that was countered by post buckets from Weber and Oberholtzer with 3:04 remaining for Corydon Central’s final points of the afternoon.

Floyd Central closed the game with charity tosses by Suer and Gasaway to seal the victory.

Conrad was frustrated with the free-throw disparity; his club managed to get to the line six times, hitting four (all from Weber). Floyd Central shot 18 frees, hitting 12.

“The whole game you can’t only have four free throws and give up almost 20. That’s a big deficit to overcome in a one- or two-possession basketball game,” Conrad said.

Floyd Central shot 14 of 35 (40%) from the field, while Corydon Central was 16 of 50 (32%). The Lady Panthers went 4 of 22 (18%) from the land of three. Rebounds were even at 30 apiece, while turnovers were nearly identical; Floyd Central gave up 13 and Corydon Central lost 10.

Corydon Central is scheduled to host Crawford County (6-12) tomorrow (Thursday) to close out the regular season, while Floyd Central returned to the hardwood Monday at Jennings County then will host Providence tomorrow.

Corydon Central          11     8   12     9 – 40

Floyd Central                  6   14   16   11 – 47

Corydon Central (9-10) – Weber 16, Erwin 11, Oberholtzer 4, Fulk 3, Adams 2, Cannon 2, Orme 2.

Floyd Central (6-13) – Suer 13, Brown 10, Kaiser 9, Gasaway 7, Hess 7, Celichowski 1.

3-point goals – Corydon Central 4 (Erwin 3, Fulk 1); Floyd Central 6 (Brown 2, Hess 2, Gasaway 1, Suer 1).

New Washington            15   21   18   12  – 66

South Central                 9     8    9     3 – 29

New Washington (7-11, 4-1) – James 16, Standiford 9, Ellison 8, Canter 7, DeCamp 7, Fields 6, Lawrence 5, Donoway 3, Spear 3, Balderas 2.

South Central (1-12, 0-5) – M. Spencer 18, K. Kiper 6, G. Ashby 4, K. Kauter 1.

3-point goals – New Washington 6 (Standiford 3, Canter 1, DeCamp 1, Donoway 1); South Central 5 (Spencer 4, Kiper 1).