Lady Eagles rout FC, Hinton wins 250th
Brandon Miniard, Sports Writer, [email protected]
On the final night before New Year’s Eve, Joe Hinton Court at Floyd Central High School had an energy similar to Times Square as a crowd gathered for the 2021 finale. Among the seats occupied was one held by the court’s namesake.
As he has done for decades, Joe Hinton had a front-row seat on the sideline. Unlike years’ past, he had a near unhindered view of the action from the visiting bench as the Lady Highlanders hosted Lanesville on Thursday night.
Hinton, a 2011 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, is no stranger to accolades, but it was his wife, Angie, the head coach of the Class 1A No. 2 Lady Eagles, who had a memorable night as her squad soared to a 49-32 victory over the host Lady Highlanders. When the final buzzer rang, Hinton left the court that bore her husband’s name as the latest head coach to earn her 250th career victory.
The Lady Eagles hit the ground running as freshman guard Hadley Crosier struck with a deep two. That jumper was the genesis of a 10-point period that included back-to-back threes. Senior wing Kennedy Gordon added to the early onslaught with a triple of her own alongside buckets from freshman guard Hylton Brumley and junior forward Linzie Wernert. The Lady Highlanders’ offense was nowhere near as scintillating as they managed only a bucket apiece from freshman Nora Gibson and junior C.J. Celichowski, leaving the Lady Eagles with a 17-4 edge.
Offensively, the roles reversed in the second quarter as the normally potent Lady Eagles’ offense managed only four points, courtesy of two free throws each from Crosier and junior center Morgan Sonner. The Lady Highlanders countered with 10 points, six of which came courtesy of senior Kendall Brown. Gibson followed with four points in a physical period, cutting the half-time deficit to seven, 21-14.
The Lady Highlanders tried to close the gap even more in the third quarter as Brown led the way with her second triple of the game. Senior Keegan Kaiser and freshman Samara Miller each added a bucket alongside a Celichowski free throw. Crosier foiled her foes’ plans with a bucket and four freebies for a six-point period, followed by a Gordon triple and buckets from Brumley and Sonner, pushing the Lady Eagles’ advantage to 35-22.
Brown managed another four points in the fourth quarter alongside buckets from Kaiser, Miller and Celichowski, but the Lady Highlanders were unable to overcome the scoring of the Lady Eagles. After struggling for much of the contest, Wernert paced the Lady Eagles in the final period with six points, followed by four apiece from Crosier and sophomore Ava Kerr. The trio, alongside Sonner, combined to go 9 for 13 from the charity stripe to seal the Lady Eagles’ 15th victory of the season.
With the victory, the Lady Eagles ended 2021 on a torrid 11-game winning streak. For the calendar year, the Lady Eagles had the seventh best record of any team in the state, at 24-3, while the Lady Highlanders dropped to 5-10 on the season.
Hinton now has another strong accomplishment to add to her 15-year head coaching resumé after earning her 250th victory. The Lady Eagles looked to get their skipper victory No. 251 yesterday (Tuesday) when they began 2022 by hosting arch-rival South Central in Southern Athletic Conference play. They will conclude SAC play Saturday when they host Crothersville at noon.
The Lady Highlanders will host arch-rival New Albany in Hoosier Hills Conference play Saturday at 7:30 p.m.