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Lady Highlanders slosh past Jennings

Floyd Central Sectional First Round

February 17, 2010
Whether it was looking ahead to Jeffersonville, peaking a little early or just plain having a bad night, the Floyd Central Lady Highlanders Thursday night sloshed their way past the Lady Panthers of Jennings County, 62-44, to win their first-round game of the Class 4A Floyd Central Sectional.

Floyd Central vs. Jennings County
"The last time we played them it was a struggle," Floyd Central coach Joe Voelker said. "Other than our sectional, last year, we had a heck of a team and we went up there and won by seven points at their place. Every time we played them, it's a struggle. They match up pretty well with us in spots. We're not real big. We're pretty small in certain areas, and they have the ability to take advantage of those things."

Floyd Central vs. Jennings County
Floyd Central missed its first three shots and then connected for five quick points to lead 5-0. Jennings County made it a dogfight through the remainder of the period, and the Lady Highlanders led by just two, 14-12, after the first eight minutes.

The second period saw Floyd Central finally give itself some breathing room, as a 7-1 burst jumped the lead to 21-13. Jennings County closed to within 22-17 following a deuce by Tori Magner, but Mercades Bierman swished a three and the Lady Highlanders held an eight-point edge at halftime.

Jennings County's Summer Sanders flies to the deck as Floyd Central’s Brigid Morrissey knocks the ball away in the Lady Highlanders' 62-44 win. Photo by Wade Bell
"We've got to do a better job of picking when we take perimeter jumps shots," Voelker said. "We rushed a lot of shots, I thought, especially early. Then, we got up 17 and we chuck a couple of bad ones and they come down and hit two threes and it's a game again instead of being able to leave them. That's kind of been how we've had to play them the last few years."

There were more concerns in the third period as Jennings County got a pair of three-pointers to go down, helping the Lady Panthers to close within four, 33-29. However, Brigid Morrisey got a freebie and Bierman drilled a three-ball to push Floyd Central's lead back to eight. Camry Hinton added another pair of free throws as the Lady Highlanders' advantage swelled to 39-30. Jennings County managed only one of those back as the third period closed.

Floyd Central finally broke away with a 6-0 burst to start the fourth quarter, all of those coming in the paint. Magner drilled another three-ball, but Hinton countered with four points. Jennings County tried to stay in the hunt as Summer Sanders drilled another three and Brooke Elmore added a deuce. The Lady Highlanders, however, maintained control during the remaining three minutes and went on to get the 62-44 win.

Voelker said his team needs to get a quick handle on its blocking out and rebounding.

"This basketball team has gotten a little too much white collar and they want to be pretty, and they've got to step up and do a little more dirty work," he said. "The biggest thing we have to do a better job of, if we want to keep on in this tournament, is we've got to rebound better than we've rebounded in the last five or six basketball games. Eight of their (Jennings County's) first 10 (points) were second-chance shots. We just didn't do a very good job of blocking out all night long."

Jennifer Smith led Floyd Central with 16 points, and Morgan Rookstool poured in 15. Hinton hit for 12, and Bierman followed with 11. The Lady Highlanders hit 24 of 57 (42 percent) of their field-goal attempts and 15 of 24 free throws while committing 11 turnovers.

"Way too many unforced (turnovers)," Voelker said. "A couple of times we were cutting, we were seeing some things on the backside defense I didn't think were bad. We were behind them a time or two. For the most part, we've got to handle the ball a little bit better."

Magner led the Lady Panthers with 14 points. Jennings County was 15 of 49 (31 percent) from the field and 6 of 9 from the charity stripe. The Lady Panthers had 21 turnovers.

"A couple of times we made some bad passes to (Smith) in the post. For the most part, we did a nice job of seeing her and getting her the basketball down low," Voelker said.

"Our free-throw shooting is another thing we've got to do a better job of. It seemed like we'd hit the first one, then miss too many second shots. That's giving too many points away."

When asked if his Lady Highlanders maybe had peaked too early, Voelker answered it was possible, considering their recent struggles.

"You never know," he said. "We could have. We're a little tired. We're a little tired inside. We've adjusted our practices and done things. Some teams do that. I've always had grinder teams when I was here."

"We set a school record with 21 wins for girls' basketball," Voelker said. "We put up 62 points with an 18-point sectional win, and we're picking apart and dissecting how we're playing. It's kind of nice to have the luxury to do that."

Floyd Central was scheduled to face Seymour for the championship last night (Tuesday).

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