January 02, 2013Two sophomores and a junior from the bench proved to be the ignition source Floyd Central needed Friday night, Dec. 21, as the Highlanders rallied from a 12-point deficit for a 62-55 win against visiting Scottsburg. It was the kind of victory the team needed just before the Christmas break, making the next few days a lot easier for coach Randy Gianfagna.
"It's a much better Christmas because of it," a smiling Gianfagna said.
The Highlanders began the game on fire, rushing to an 8-2 lead. The Warriors quickly came back to eventually take an 11-10 lead with a 9-2 run, but Floyd Central's Colton Kimm buried a three-ball, and the Highlanders led 13-11 after one quarter. Kimm had seven of the Highlanders' points in the eight minutes.
Floyd Central’s Trevor Smith, left, and Colton Kimm, right, put some heat on Scottsburg’s Malik Gross in the first half. The Highlanders used a second-half rally for a 62-55 win. Photos by Wade Bell
"He dominated in the first quarter," Gianfagna said.
Kimm scored inside to begin the second period. Scottsburg, however, countered with six straight points. Kimm scored again, but the Warriors answered with five more to lead 22-19.
Drew Hussung got a pair of freebies for the Highlanders, but the Warriors outscored Floyd Central 6-2 in the final two minutes to take a 28-23 lead to the locker room at halftime.
"Early, we were fine and then I screwed up at halftime," Gianfagna said. "I tried to make a change we hadn't done in practice, and we turned it over and they score and we turn it right back over. That's my fault. I tried to make a change that I thought would help our press break. It backfired, and we said, 'Let's just go back to normal.' "
The Warriors continued to gain momentum in the third period, advancing their advantage to 32-24 in the first minute.
Trevor Smith and Hussung pulled Floyd Central to within five points, but Scottsburg immediately answered with an 11-0 run to lead 43-21.
Then, Floyd Central's bench began to become a factor as Travis Foster buried a three and Aiden Cora got a deuce-and-one to close the gap to six with one quarter left.
"Their first five points were in transition," Gianfagna said. "We didn't turn around, and we're not matched up. You talk about frustrated. The second half, they got two or three late buckets."
That spark off the bench turned into an explosion as Cora canned another three and Foster got another deuce-and-one to tie the game at 43.
Malik Gross scored inside for Scottsburg, but Foster got a freebie and Cora sank another from downtown as Floyd Central went in front. Cody Hamsley then added two more inside to complete an 18-2 run for a 49-45 Highlander advantage.
Kirk Hardin scored inside for the Warriors, but Floyd Central countered with another 7-2 burst.
Floyd Central’s Drew Hussung, front, does a little thievery as he picks the pocket of Brandon Boswell (22) of Scottsburg in the second half.
The Warriors never got closer than five for rest of the night, and the Highlanders made Christmas more enjoyable, getting the 62-55 win.
Kimm led the Highlanders (2-4) with 15 points. Foster and Cora added 14 and 11, respectively. Including those 25, Floyd Central had 29 bench points. The Highlanders connected on 22 of 51 field-goal attempts (43 percent) and 14 of 18 free throws. Floyd Central finished with 17 turnovers.
"Cora came in and hit a couple of threes and then knocked the ball out of bounds a couple of times," Gianfagna said. "It was nice to see. We've been seeing it in practice, and we laughed. We guaranteed that Cora was not on the scouting report, and Travis hit a three, too, with an and-one. So, it was good for our kids to do that."
Foster, Cora and Austin Newell have been seeing JV time to hone their skills for just the right moment when they might be needed for a situation such as this.
"The big thing is, what do you do when your number is called?" Gianfagna said. "Do you give us a spark? Those guys off the bench really gave us a spark. They played really well."
"We kept those kids out two quarters," he said. "We're trying to play them five for all those guards, and tonight was the night we used them, and they stepped up and were ready. We're trying to get them as many minutes as we can."
Hardin, Gross, Jordan Coomer and Christian Evans had 11 each for the Warriors (2-6). Scottsburg hit 19 of their 52 field-goal attempts (37 percent) and 14 of 22 free throws. The Warriors had 20 turnovers.
In the end, it was the Highlanders' younger, quicker lineup that made the difference.
"Those guys gave us a spark," Gianfagna said. "They made basketball plays, and then we made them play at the end."