February 19, 2020The Floyd Central Highlanders ended a three-game losing streak Saturday night against visiting New Washington after losing a heart-breaker to Silver Creek just a few nights before. The Highlanders had fallen to Evansville Reitz and Bedford-North Lawrence before that but corralled a scrappy Mustangs team to put the brakes on the slide.
"We'd lost three in a row," said Floyd Central coach Todd Sturgeon. "Evansville Reitz has got a good team, and we went at Bedford, which is not an easy task, but the last two games we had an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter in both of those games. The Reitz game we had the ball with it tied and a chance to win the game. All three of those games we didn't quite finish. We really want to just win."
Floyd Central's Seth Burks battles with New Washington's Matthew Arthur for a rebound in the second half of the Highlanders' 50-35 win. Photo by Wade Bell
The Mustangs came out slugging and grabbed the early lead until Jake Heidbreder drove the lane for two to start a 15-0 run for a 19-6 lead. New Washington kept its composure and got back-to-back threes from Josh Clemons and Matthew Arthur, closing the gap to seven, 19-12, at the end of the period.
Clemons got the first basket of the second quarter to close the gap to five. The two teams traded points for the next few minutes, keeping New Washington's deficit under 10. A.J. Walter drilled a three to pull the Mustangs back within six. Heidbreder finished the half with four points, getting a freebie and a three as the Highlanders held a 31-21 advantage at halftime.
"We felt coming in that we had an advantage around the basket, which we do against a lot of teams, so we wanted to get it inside," Sturgeon said. "It was a slowed down, low-possession game so every possession was critical for us to get ahead and speed them up a little bit."
Caleb Washington got Floyd Central's first basket of the second half, but Walter countered with a deuce-and-one to pull the Mustangs' deficit back to nine. Grant Gohmann scored in the paint twice for the Highlanders for a 37-24 lead. Arthur drilled a New Washington three, but Heidbreder got a deuce-and-one in the final minute and the Highlanders went into the final period up 13, 40-27.
"In the second half, once we got a 10-point lead, we told our guys we don't have to be quite as aggressive, but we wanted them to be active," Sturgeon said. "So, we weren't chasing around other guys quite as much so we had a free lane to drive. We did a pretty good job getting in there and digging some balls out."
Gohmann scored first in the fourth for the Highlanders but Jakob Arthur countered with a three and Walter scored in the paint, closing the gap to 10, 42-32. Floyd Central stayed in control and passed around the perimeter. The Mustangs were unable to pull any closer, and the Highlanders went on to get the 50-35 win.
"If they had shot the ball like that last night against Lanesville, it might have been a different outcome," Sturgeon said of the Mustangs' game the night before. "They battled and competed and had a plan to slow it down and keep it a low possession, low-scoring game and try to spread us out and drive us some. They did a good job.
"We were trying to speed the game up, but our team this year, we have a hard time pressuring teams to speed up," he said. "We've got this strange team where we can play with the best teams in the state. We can battle those teams but we can't even press and speed up our JV team."
Heidbreder and Gohmann led the Highlanders with 14 each, and Washington followed with 13. Floyd Central found the basket 19 of 42 times from the field (45%) and put in 6 of 7 free-throws. The Highlanders had seven turnovers for the game.
"We haven't really blown anybody out," Sturgeon said. "We've had a couple of games where we've ended up winning by 20 at the end. But, even those games, of Corydon and Seymour, those games we were leading by 20 points. At halftime, those games were single-digit games."
Clemons led the Mustangs with 11 points, all of those in the first half, and Walter finished the night with 10. New Washington canned 14 of 34 field goals (41%) and one of only three trips to the free-throw line. The Mustangs had 11 turnovers for the 32 minutes.
The Highlanders will finish their regular season during the next two weeks with all home games, against Brownstown Central, Bloomington North and Columbus East.
"Looking to the post season we're just trying to, it's cliché, but we've got to keep trying to get better every day," said the Floyd Central coach. "We don't have very many practices left. We've got to really take advantage of that. It hasn't been quite good enough the last couple of weeks, and we've got to get a little better. Two possessions a half is all you're really talking about. One possession a half at each end that we've got to cut out a mistake."
"I heard a golfer say that the difference on the PGA is that being a multi-millionaire and being off the tour is one putt a side," he said. "One putt a side. That's two putts a round and eight shots, the difference from being a multi-millionaire and playing for a $500 purse. ... "
New Washington 12 9 6 8 - 35
Floyd Central 19 12 9 10 - 50
New Washington - Clemons 11, Walter 10, M. Arthur 8, J. Arthur 3, Giltner 3.
Floyd Central - Gohmann 14, Heidbreder 14, Washington 13, Purvis 7, Moore 2.
3-pointers - New Washington 6 (M. Arthur 2, J. Arthur 1, Clemons 1, Giltner 1, Walter 1); Floyd Central 4 (Heidbreder 2, Purvis 1, Washington 1).