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Third-quarter surge enough for Floyd

January 14, 2009
The Floyd Central Highlanders stayed composed and bounced back from a double-digit deficit to get their fourth win of the season, declawing the Corydon Central Panthers, 66-58.

Floyd Central's Buddy McAfee, right, fights his way inside as he goes up against Corydon Central's Brian Baker in the first half. (Photo by Wade Bell)
"We'll take it," a smiling Randy Gianfagna, coach of the Highlanders, said. "We got down 15-5, and we didn't panic. That was the big thing."

The Panthers had the hot hands early as Dylan Harl and Seth Rennirt lit up the nets with three three-balls, pushing Corydon to a 15-5 lead.

Floyd made some gains late in the period as Ben Allen swished a three, closing the gap to seven.

Casey Saulman extended the Panther lead to eight with a free throw with no time left on the clock.

The Panthers pushed their lead to 11 in the first two minutes of the second period, but Floyd responded in a big way, using an 11-0 run to tie the game at 24.

Rennirt hit a short jumper for Corydon, but Ryan Adam countered. Brandon Dunaway put Corydon back in front, but Floyd's Buddy McAfee scored inside before the half ended, and the Highlanders went to the locker room with a 28-27 advantage.

"We couldn't control the dribble penetration the first quarter," Gianfagna said. "Then, I thought our subbing kind of got to their bench. I thought they looked a little bit tired. They had a couple of air-ball threes in the second quarter and an air-ball free throw."

Floyd took advantage of every opportunity in the third quarter, blasting out with a 15-0 run for a 42-27 lead. The Highlanders later pushed their lead to 51-32 until Corydon had a late 7-0 burst to pull within 12 after Dunaway swished a long three with a second left.

"Really, I thought the game would have been over but we just did not finish," Gianfagna said. "It went from about 18 to 12 and then it's a game."

Harl buried a three to begin the fourth quarter, pulling Corydon to within single digits. Dunaway scored the next six points, closing the gap to 53-49.

With four minutes left in the game, Jeremy Jeffries sank a Floyd three. Corydon got within five twice in the last three minutes, but the Panther gained no more ground as the Highlanders came away with the 66-58 win.

"We're still looking at the end of games to bury somebody, and we're not quite there yet with all the pressure," the Floyd coach said. "There's a fine line there, when do you push it and when do you pull it back out? We've got to find that line."

Allen led the winners with 14 points, and Bandon Codey finished with 10. Floyd (4-5, 0-2 Hoosier Hills Conference) was 21 of 40 from the field (52 percent) and 16 of 24 from the stripe and committed 17 turnovers.

Gianfagna was also happy with the play of center Jeffrey Thompson, who gave the Highlanders a big lift with scoring and rebounding in the third. The 6-7 junior finished with eight points.

"He was big, real big," Gianfagna said. "I thought we got contributions from everybody. Cody (Banet) came back — he's been off — and did OK."

Dunaway led Corydon with 21 points, and Garett Ross added 12. Rennirt added 10 points for Corydon, who was 18 of 43 from the field (41 percent) and 18 of 26 from the stripe. The Panthers had 16 turnovers.

Gianfagna said his team is improving because the players are becoming more compatible with each other.

"They really like each other, so that's the fun part," he said. "We've still got a lot of little things we've got to get better."

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