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Highlanders slip to Seymour, 55-49

New Albany Girls' Sectional

February 13, 2008
Floyd Central was so eager to get its Friday night New Albany Sectional semi-final round against Seymour going that the team nearly came running out onto the floor during the national anthem. However, after getting off to a blazing start, the Lady Highlanders sputtered midway through the game with foul trouble and saw their season come to an end in a 55-49 loss.

"We probably lost the basketball game in the second and third quarters," Floyd coach Joe Voelker said. "We put up 11 in the second and third combined. I think you can contribute some of it to foul troubles. Part of it, we tried to grind a little bit."

Floyd Central senior Abigail Hoskins looks for a way around Seymour's Kristin Turner during the first half of the Lady Highlanders' loss to the Lady Owls in the semi-finals of the New Albany Sectional. (Photo by Wade Bell)
Floyd, who lost to the Lady Owls 69-55 in their second game of the season, came out at a blistering pace in the first quarter, exploding to a 10-2 lead. Brigid Morrissey drew two quick fouls in the first couple of minutes and had to go to the bench. Shelby Allen came into the game and put in a deuce and later a three-ball.

Erin Murphy swished free throws for the Lady Owls, but Bailey Hubert got a deuce-and-one and Camry Hinton followed with a short jumper for an 18-6 Floyd lead.

"We got off to a great start," Voelker said. "We hit some shots and hit a lot of shots from the perimeter. I thought that propelled us."

Seymour responded with a three-pointer from Kristin Turner and a deuce by Bridgette Jones. Hinton countered with a three, and Morrissey later came back in for a free throw. Turner got in the last bucket of the quarter, but the Lady Highlanders held a 22-13 advantage.

Floyd kept its lead at nine early in the second quarter, but with 6:09 to go in the half, Morrissey picked up her third foul. The Lady Owls took advantage with a 7-0 run to pull within two, 24-22, as Floyd missed its next four shots, before Hinton got a putback with 3:15 to go.

Jones got an Owl deuce, but Jessica Whittaker got one of those back after Turner was called for her third foul, and the Lady Highlander lead was three at halftime.

"As a coaching staff, we wanted to get to halftime after Brigid picked up her third," Voelker said. "Our foul trouble really kind of hurt us. Instead of going in three at half, we could have gone in up a few more points. It took a lot of speed off the floor. It took a lot of our presence off the floor without Brigid."

Floyd continued its struggles in the third quarter, and Seymour's momentum continued to build. The Lady Owls began the quarter with an 8-0 run, including threes by Adams and Turner, for a 32-27 lead. Jennifer Smith got two of those back for Floyd, but Seymour answered.

Morrissey came back in the game, but with 2:45 left in the quarter got called for a fourth foul. Seymour scored the next four points and took a 38-31 with 1:42 left in the quarter. Smith scored for Floyd late, and the Lady Highlander deficit was five with one quarter to go.

"That's what these games come down to," Voelker said. "They come down to breaks, and especially in our sectional. Every game comes down to the wire and down to two or three plays. It's no different in this one."

Chelsea Reinhart connected for the Lady Owls to start the fourth quarter. Hinton and Abigail Hoskins scored inside for the Lady Highlanders, but Adams countered with a three. Morrissey hit two free throws with 5:36 to go. The trading continued until Smith hit in the paint and Hoskins followed inside, closing the gap to two, 47-45.

Turner got two Lady Owl free throws, but Hoskins got a putback and Smith scored inside to tie the game at 49 with 1:38 to go. That would be the last score the Lady Highlanders would see, however, turning the ball over twice.

Turner led a 6-0 final burst, and Floyd saw its season end in a 55-49 defeat.

"With Turner and Murphy, we knew they were going to step up and be able to hit shots," Voelker said. "If we handle ourselves better than in the second and third quarters, then we win the game. I think our kids understand it's a fine line between winning and losing. They can't take plays off. A lot of a part of the night, we had a junior and all sophomores on the floor."

"Abigail's rebounding got us back in it late," he said. "At the beginning of the fourth, we gave up too many second- and third-chance shots. They had four chances at it and hit a three. All those plays come back to really hurt you."

Smith came off the bench to lead the Lady Highlanders (15-8) with 12 points. After scoring 24 points against Jeffersonville two nights before, Morrissey was held to five. Floyd shot 18 of 41 from the field (43 percent) and 8 of 16 from the stripe. The Lady Highlanders committed 14 turnovers.

"We talked to (Smith) at halftime about being more aggressive," Voelker said. "I thought she really did in the second half. She had 12 points and six rebounds. We had seven kids score."

Voelker said Allen and Erica Smith had some good minutes with Morrissey in foul trouble.

"Limiting Brigid's minutes like that was the difference in the basketball game," he said. "They were able to hold her to five points. Had she got to play half the game, it would have been a little different."

"Shelby hit a couple of big shots there during the big run," Voelker said. "Erica has been solid all year. She comes in and doesn't make a lot of mistakes and is pretty solid. We have to develop her more over the summer, so she's more offensive minded."

Turner led the Lady Owls (17-5) with 23 points, and Murphy followed with 12, hitting 9 of 10 free throws. Seymour shot 16 of 47 from the field (34 percent) but 18 of 21 from the charity stripe. Seymour also made just nine turnovers.

"I'm very proud of our team," Voelker said. "These guys play together. They really like each other. If we had open gym, they'd all show up. I'm proud of our five seniors. I'm very sad to see them go. All five of those kids are important to our team."

With several of his young players gaining quite a bit of varsity experience this year, Voelker said he hopes for even better things next season.

"Our more athletic kids are sophomores," he said. "We were able to play them this year. We feel we're a better basketball team this year than we were last year. We feel we should be a better basketball team next year than we are this year. That's what we expect."

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