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FC downs NH in double-OT thriller

January 16, 2013
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 the 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.

North Harrison junior guard Joseph Hinton raises up for the potential game-winning jumper at the buzzer in overtime as Aiden Cora defends. The ball was halfway down before bouncing out, leading to double overtime, where Floyd Central eventually prevailed, 78-77, with the help of a late three-pointer by Cora. Photo by Ross Schulz
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 they 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, getting 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 grazing the rim, but he also immediately went after the ball committing a lane violation. So, North Harrison had one final crack at the game, but after a long inbound pass was deflected, a desperation heave was not close.

The nail-biter ended with Floyd Central collecting its third win of the season to improved to 3-10. While Floyd Central ended a six-game losing streak, the loss snapped a five-game winning streak for North Harrison (7-4).

Gianfagna, who coached for 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 up 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 Class 4A No. 13 Jeffersonville the night before, took a step in the right direction and improved over 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 with 17 points. Hussung was the main offensive threat late in the game and in the overtime periods, scoring 11 of the team's 19 points in the extra frames.

Zane Nichols also contributed 13 points, including a 9-for-9 effort from the free-throw line, and Colton Kimm also had 13.

Tyler Bement led North Harrison with 19 points, and Smith poured in 17. Hinton contributed 15, John Martin 10 and Austin Nolot 9.

Smith scored nine 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.

Floyd Central will move back into conference play Friday, traveling to Jennings County.

North Harrison will face county rival Lanesville in Ramsey.


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