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Big 4th quarter gives Floyd first home win

February 06, 2008
The Floyd Central Highlanders had a good weekend Friday and Saturday, first getting a come-from-behind win over host Bedford-North Lawrence, then scoring big in the fourth quarter to run away from the South Central Rebels, 61-45, for their first home win.

Floyd Central's Nick Biery slices his way through South Central's Randall Hertle, left, and Chip Hockenbury en route to the basket in the second half of the Highanders' 61-45 win. (Photos by Wade Bell)
"Yaaaaaaaay!!!" a smiling Randy Gianfagna said after his Highlanders stopped South Central. "It was a good team win, two nights in a row."

For three quarters, however, the Highlanders had to fight to stay close to be able to make that fourth quarter work. In the first, Floyd got the lead, but saw the Rebels match them step for step. South Central was also doing a good job of working the lane and the baseline for some easier inside points. After getting behind 14-9, Clinton Keys swished a Rebel three-pointer and Chip Hockenberry followed with a deuce to tie the game. Later, however, Nick Biery and Buddy McAfee both scored inside, and the Highlanders led 18-14 after one quarter.

The Rebels began the second quarter with a 6-0 burst for a 20-18 edge. That was followed by a swapping session and a Cody Jobe three that push himself over the 1,000-point mark for his career and gave his Rebels a 25-22 lead.

"That's good for him," South Central coach Rob Murawski said. "Cody has worked hard this year. He worked hard in the off season, and we're glad he finally got it. Hopefully, it's big things to come."

Floyd's next six points came in the paint, putting the Highlanders back out in front. Hockenbury and Randall Hertle countered with six points. McAfee knocked down a pair from the stripe, but South Central took a 31-30 lead to the locker room at halftime.

"We were supposed to take away the drive and we didn't," Gianfagna said. "We showed them the shot chart at halftime, and they were 2 for 4 on threes, but every other thing was in the paint. We were a little frustrated with that."

Floyd Central's Thomas Briscoe looks for help with South Central's Chance Howard over him in the first half. The Highlanders pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 61-45 win.
"The big thing after halftime, they had eight offensive rebounds," he said. "As a coach you can't give them offensive rebounds. We had a couple of matchup issues early, and after that, I thought we did OK."

"My kids battled," Murawski said. "I had foul trouble with Hockenberry and Hertle, but I had guys come in, Chance Howard, Josh Vierling, those guys came in and really did a good job. We battled and hung in there."

South Central used a 5-2 burst to start the second half for a 36-32 lead, forcing the Highlanders to call timeout. Floyd kept its composure and came back within one, when Biery got a deuce-and-one to close the gap to 38-37.

Brandon Codey later followed that with a deuce to put the Highlanders back in front. Hockenbury gave the lead back to the Rebels, but Ryan Adams gave Floyd a big lift when he buried a long deuce with just 0.5 seconds showing on the clock.

"I thought they were a little bit gassed in the second half," Gianfagna said. "We were running eight and nine guys at them and they only have five or six. Even though we played the night before, I thought they got a little tired the second half."

Floyd exploded in the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run to lead 52-42. The Rebels failed to score for just over three minutes before Hockenbury finally got one of two free throws with 3:48 left.

The Highlanders finished out the game with another 9-2 burst, shutting down the Rebels for the 61-45 win.

"Our thing was 48 points for them tonight, and at halftime, with them having 31, it sure didn't look like it was going to happen, but we did what we're supposed to do," Gianfagna said. "Ryan hit a big shot at the end of the third quarter that kind of gave us some momentum. The fourth quarter, we just kind of buried them. We've been on the other end of that chasing thing, and it's no fun to do."

Biery led the winners with 17 points, and McAfee followed with 12. The Highlanders connected on 24 of 58 field goals (41 percent) and 8 of 13 free throws. Floyd made just 10 turnovers.

"He's our best offensive rebounder," Gianfagna said of Biery. "He's averaging three turnovers a game and he's a forward. That's the big thing he's got to fix. He and Thomas (Briscoe) did a good job on Jobe. Briscoe did a good job on him the second half."

"Buddy played better the second half," he said. "Our whole thing is, we've got to them both to play well the whole game. One will play well one half and the other will play well the other half. They're a nice tandem right now."

Hertle led the Rebels with 15, and Jobe finished with 13. Hockenbury added 11 for South Central, who hit 18 of 42 field goals (42 percent) and 9 of 13 free throws. The Rebels had 16 turnovers.

Gianfagna said controlling Hertle and Hockenbury were two keys for his Highlanders.

"One thing we told them was, we didn't want any transition buckets for (Hertle)," the Floyd coach said. "He got a couple and we told the centers if he gets any, they're coming out and they did it. He got a couple early, and I didn't want him beating us up and down the floor."

"I wrote on the board 'motor,' " the Floyd coach said of Hockenbury. "You talk about motors in football, defensive linemen don't quit, he is a motor. He doesn't quit on anything."

Gianfagna said he hopes the weekend, with its two wins, is where his team makes the turn.

"The big thing was this week, we brought the kids in and said they haven't quit," the Floyd coach said. "We just said thanks for not quitting. Some things haven't gone our way lately, but the turning of the corner is coming. It helps when we actually turn the corner and you get your two wins. We've felt like we're almost there."

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