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SP_WINNER
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All eyes are on the ball as Bloomington South's Anthony Leal puts up the winning shot to secure a 51-50 win over the Floyd Central Highlanders ending their 31-game win streak at home. Photos by Wade Bell

Bloomington South trips Floyd at last second in OT


January 01, 2020
For a little bit, it looked like the Floyd Central Highlanders were going to pull off the upset of the year in their last game before Christmas break against visiting No. 2 Bloomington South. The two teams, both undefeated, played their way through four quarters and an overtime to determine a winner, but it was the last 5.9 seconds that made the difference with the Panthers coming out the winner in a 51-50 nail-biter that ended Floyd Central's 31 home-game win streak.

"We're not big on moral victories around here," said Floyd Central coach Todd Sturgeon, "but to go toe-to-toe with that team and be in control to win it and not quite finish there is obviously disappointing."

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Floyd Central's Jake Heidbreder, center, forces his way between Bloomington South's Joey Bomba, right, and Noah Jager in the second half of Floyd Central's loss to the Panthers.
Floyd Central point guard Jake Heidbreder set the tone early with a three-ball and deuce in the paint putting the Highlanders out in front early. Bloomington South, however, quickly countered with 11 straight points to lead by six. The Panthers kept the momentum to later lead by 10, 19-9, with Anthony Leal and Connor Hickman knocking down threes. Grant Gohmann put away a Floyd Central deuce, and Bloomington South had a 19-11 lead after one quarter.

The two teams traded three-balls to begin the second period, then Heidbreder hit back-to-back jumpers to start a 9-0 run, putting the Highlanders back within three, 26-23. Hickman doubled that with a three-ball, but Gohmann scored in the paint and the Panthers had a 29-25 edge at halftime.

"I thought last night (against Providence), it was a different kind of game, but we had to be aggressive last night, too," said Sturgeon. "That's the challenge. Can we go and start carrying that level of excitement, enthusiasm and commitment and sustain that? That's what we talked about in preparation for this game tonight. We don't have to play better than we have been, but we have played pretty well in stretches already. But, what we've got to do is do that for a longer period of time. I thought we did that."

Floyd Central began the third quarter with a 9-3 burst to take a 34-32 lead, forcing Bloomington South to call a timeout. After the break, the Panthers countered with six. The Highlanders went back in front when Heidbreder scored the next four. Bloomington South's Noah Jager sandwiched deuces around a Cole Harritt three, and the game was tied at 41 at the end of the third period.

"I'm happy with the way we competed," Sturgeon said. "We're excited we could get in there and mix it up with a team of that caliber."

Jager got the first points of the fourth with a deuce, but Harritt fired in his second three, causing the lead to trade hands once again to Floyd Central's favor. Heidbreder hit a short jumper to add to that, but Hickman sank a three to tie the game at 46. Neither team scored in the last minute and a half sending the game into overtime.

Caleb Washington put in a Floyd Central deuce to start the extra four minutes, but Joey Bomba countered with a three. Bomba hit another jumper, putting the Highlanders back in front, 50-49, and Bloomington South called timeout with 38.7 seconds to go. With 25.4 seconds to go Floyd Central missed a chance to go up by three by turning the ball over out of bounds.

With 5.9 seconds left in the game, Leal was called for his third foul, giving Heidbreder a one-and-one. The ball bounced off the front of the rim on his first attempt. Bloomington South quickly went down the floor and used two passes to get the ball to Leal in the paint. Leal bounced a shot off the backboard as the buzzer went off for the winning basket and 51-50 win, leaving Floyd Central fans holding their hands on their heads.

"We had three turnovers and missed a free throw," said Sturgeon. "It's disappointing. I went player by player of guys who made critical plays in that game. All eight guys that played came in and had a part in it. I'm obviously pleased with everything but six seconds. There at the end you don't want to foul. Jager is so dang quick and he attacks."

Heidbreder led the Highlanders with 20 points for the night, and Gohmann punched in 11 points. Washington put in 10 for the Highlanders who hit 20 of 36 field-goal attempts (56%) and 4 of 4 free throws. Floyd Central had 12 turnovers for the 36 minutes.

"Caleb Washington is a freshman and made two big jumpers there in overtime," Sturgeon said. "That's pretty big. Max (Tripure), a sophomore, came off the bench there and knocked in a three in the first half. Max has been playing so well in the JV games that sometimes you want to put him in the varsity there. He's getting 18 points every JV game and making 50% of his three-point shots, so he might be able to do that at 7:30. Cole Harritt is a sophomore who's made a lot of big shots in big games for us this year."

Hickman led Bloomington South with 14 points, and Jager finished with 13. Leal put in 12 points, and Bomba added 10. The Panthers were 19 of 42 from the field (45%) and 1 of 2 from the charity stripe. Bloomington South had nine turnovers for the game.

"We've got a lot to be excited about here," said the Floyd Central coach. "Obviously, we're just disappointed in the last 5.9 seconds, and that's it. We're going to take five days off and open some presents. That's how we're going to do it this time. We've got a little time here."

Bloomington South 19 10 12 5 5 - 51

Floyd Central 11 14 16 5 4 - 50

Bloomington South - Hickman 14, Leal 12, Jager 13, Jo. Bomba 10, Ja. Bomba 2.

Floyd Central - Heidbreder 20, Gohmann 11, Washington 10, Harritt 6, Tripure 3.

3-pointers - Bloomington South 7 (Hickman 4, Jo. Bomba 1, Jager 1, Leal 1); Floyd Central 6 (Harritt 2, Heidbreder 2, Gohmann 1, Tripure 1).

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