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Morrissey leads Floyd over Jeff in OT, 50-42

New Albany Girls' Sectional

February 13, 2008
A group of Jeffersonville adult fans were loudly criticizing the play of Floyd Central point guard Brigid Morrissey in the first quarter of the Lady Highlanders' sectional opener against Jeffersonville last Tuesday night at New Albany High School. Morrissey, however, was on a mission, and the sophomore had the last laugh as her Lady Highlanders ousted Jeff from the tournament with a 50-42 overtime win.

"I was feeling confident, and I knew our team would do well," said Morrissey, who dumped in 24 points. "I knew we were going to win it. We were confident, and we trusted in each other. We've just bonded so much this season, and that's helped. … Our seniors have never won against Jeff. That was a big win for them. That's definitely going to help our confidence."

"It's a nice win for our team, a nice win for our program," Floyd coach Joe Voelker said. "We've felt we've progressed as a program the last two seasons. It's nice for our seniors to two years in a row get a win in the sectional because all five of them worked their tails off every day whether they played or not. They're great people, and we want to keep this thing going as long as we can for those five kids."

Floyd Central's Brigid Morrissey, bottom, goes to the deck after being fouled by Jeffersonville's Janice Williams (12) in the second half. Brooke Valentine (20) is flanking Morrissey on the left while Bailey Hubert is watching from behind. (Photo by Wade Bell)
Floyd lost by seven to the Lady Red Devils during the regular season, but that was early.

Jeff took the initial lead in this game, but the Lady Highlanders responded quickly as Abigail Hoskins hit a jumper and Morrissey buried a pair of three-balls for an 8-5 Floyd lead. Jeff finished the quarter with an 8-2 burst, going in front, 13-10.

Jennifer Smith pushed Floyd back in front at the start of the second quarter with back-to-back deuces in the paint. Lindsay Monihon put Jeff back on top with a pair from the stripe, and the Lady Red Devils stayed there until Morrissey nailed her third three of the half for a 21-20 Floyd lead.

Alyssa Wright countered with two free throws, but Camry Hinton drilled a long deuce with three seconds left to send the Lady Highlanders to the locker room with a 23-22 lead.

"We've got to hang our hats on defense," Voelker said. "We're not going to be more athletic than people. We're not going to jump over the top of people. We've got to play defense. … I think that's how we have got to be successful at Floyd Central a lot of times."

The third quarter was slow for both teams, with Floyd and Jeff scoring just four points in the first seven minutes, 59.6 seconds. However, with 00.4 seconds left, Shanice Gholston drilled a three to give Jeff a 29-27 lead.

The Lady Red Devils had a chance to break the game open early in the fourth quarter when they got their biggest lead of the game, 33-27, on a deuce by Monihon. Floyd kept its composure, however, and came back to tie with 33 seconds left as Hinton scored inside for a 37-all tie.

A midcourt shot by Floyd's Jessica Whittaker saw nothing but net, but it was a half-second too late and the game went into overtime.

"We made a lot of sophomore mistakes down the stretch in the third quarter, and we had been working on quarter situations," Voelker said. "We had the big turnover, and they came back and hit a three. Then, we had to play from behind the whole fourth quarter because of it.

"Kirk Hamsley kept telling them from the bench, 'Two minutes, there's a lot of clock left. There's a lot of time left.' Camry hit that runner, and from that point on, I had a gut feeling we were going to pull that thing out once we were able to tie it back up again."

The overtime showdown came to the free-throw line. The Floyd defense held Jeff to just two field goals and a single free throw in the extra four minutes.

The Lady Highlanders, after missing all seven of the regulation free throws, connected on 13 of 16 shots from the charity stripe, and Floyd went on to earn a 50-42 win and advance to the semi-finals against Seymour.

"I guess the biggest thing, we were able to play through our mistakes," Voelker said. "We made a lot of sophomore mistakes with our young kids. There was a couple of stretches where I thought those sophomore mistakes were going to cost us the basketball game."

"Our kids executed the game plan, especially for the first three quarters very well, what we wanted to do defensively," he said. "We did a good job adjusting in the fourth quarter, trying to make some runs, causing a few turnovers to get us back in it."

Besides Morrissey's 24 points, Smith added 11 off the bench. The Lady Highlanders (15-7) were 17 of 27 from the field (63 percent) and 13 of 23 from the stripe. Floyd committed 19 turnovers.

The game was Morrissey's first after sitting out three games with a pulled muscle.

"I was a little nervous at first," the sophomore admitted. "I'm not going to lie. I practiced yesterday and I was doing pretty good."

Morrissey said her composure was at question when Jeff went up six, but her team helped her keep the nerves in check.

"They helped me keep my composure," she said. "I had to calm down a little bit. We'd worked all season on just being patient, and we knew we had to get the ball to the post and that would open other things up. It worked."

"Down the stretch, we've needed Camry, Jennifer Smith and Brigid to score some points," Voelker said. "Brigid stepped up huge, not playing the last three games. … To be able to come back, she played a nice basketball game tonight."

"(Jennifer's) come a very long way, especially over the second half of the season," he said. "She's now starting to be a little more aggressive in the post and much more comfortable offensively. Our kids have a lot of confidence in getting her the basketball, also. They're pretty confident that once she gets it, she can step up and score. She still makes some freshmen mistakes at times, but for the most part, we've been extremely pleased with how she's played."

Gholston led Jeffersonville (15-6) with 15 points, and Wright finished with 10. The Lady Red Devils hit 15 of 46 field goals (32 percent), 11 of 19 free throws and made 15 turnovers.

"Our young kids are starting to play well and starting to play with a purpose and understand a little bit more of what we want," Voelker said of his team. "They're a fun group to be around. It would be very sad if it had to end, because they enjoy coming in together every day."

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