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Floyd Central slips in opener, 56-51

November 17, 2010
After getting off to a rousing start, the Floyd Central Lady Highlanders faltered Friday night against visiting Evansville Harrison and watched as their season-opener slid into the loss column. It was some impatience by the Lady Highlanders during the middle part of the game that proved costly.

Floyd Central’s Emily Foster gets hammered by Evansville Harrison’s Haley Woodruff in the first half of the Lady Highlanders’ 56-51 loss. Photo by Wade Bell
"More than a little bit," Floyd Central coach Joe Voelker said of the impatience. "Really, I think it started in the first quarter. We're just an inexperienced group and a young group, and we made a lot of dumb fouls in the first quarter that led to the second quarter and the issues we had in the second quarter."

The Lady Highlanders charged their way to the front in the first quarter by hitting seven of their 12 field-goal attempts. A 13-2 run late in the period allowed Floyd Central a 20-9 lead until Harrison's Elayna Dorsey swished a three-ball with a second left to close the gap to 20-12.

DeAsia Phillips drilled a second three for the Lady Warriors to pull Harrison within five to start the second quarter.

Kelsey Mayfield countered with a Floyd Central three, but the Lady Highlanders seemed to fall into a state of panic with three quick turnovers midway through the period. Emily Martin scored inside for the Lady Warriors and then added a three. Haley Woodruff got a Harrison single, and, suddenly, the game was tied at 25.

Emily Foster got a deuce in the paint for the Lady Highlanders, but Harrison countered with five unanswered points for a 30-27 lead.

Taylor Pate answered with a Floyd Central three-ball to tie the game, but Kolaiah Hawkins got two late free throws to give Harrison a 32-30 edge at halftime.

"We wanted to lean on people and just put our hands on them instead of sliding our feet and keeping our hands out and maybe concede a layup," Voelker said. "So, they spent the last 11 minutes going to the foul line on every foul. I think that had a heck of a lot to do with it. They had a 20-10 run in the second quarter that I thought really was the biggest difference in the game."

Brooke Hinton drilled a three to push Floyd Central in front to begin the second half. That lasted only briefly, however, as the Lady Highlanders hit an iceberg, missing their next 12 shots.

Harrison went on a 10-1 run to take a 40-34 lead. Foster and Hinton scored to pull Floyd Central within two, but the Lady Warriors finished the period with a 6-2 burst for a 46-40 edge.

"I thought, in the third quarter, we played much better," Voelker said. "We got a ton of really nice looks at the basket. We just didn't finish. That's kind of where this team is right now. We've got to make them better."

Floyd Central's shooting problems continued early in the fourth, however, as the Lady Highlanders missed their first seven shots. The Lady Warriors took advantage of Floyd Central's shooting woes and extended their advantage to 50-40 with 4:38 left.

The Lady Warriors turned the ball over three times, but Floyd Central failed to convert, and Harrison held off the Lady Highlanders to get the 56-51 win.

"We did several things and got some nice looks in the third quarter and fourth quarter and just came up short," Voelker said. "If we hit a couple of shots, it would have been a little different, but it's kind of the challenge to this team."

One person missing from the action was Floyd Central senior center Morgan Rookstool, who is sidelined with tendonitis in her knee. She is expected to miss the first few games.

"She's got some shin splints and knee issues, and it's not going to be a quick fix on her," Voelker said. "Hopefully, she's back by after Thanksgiving and able to get up and down the floor a little bit."

Foster led the Lady Highlanders with 12 points, and Hinton and Mayfield followed with 10 each. Floyd Central was 20 of 57 (35 percent) from the field and 4 of 8 from the charity stripe. The Lady Highlanders had 11 turnovers.

"Emily has had a great fall and has really been playing some solid basketball," Voelker said of Foster. "She got two points, two points, two points every quarter and was pretty spread out offensively.

"Kelsey (Mayfield), there in the second, we thought we could take advantage of some tight cuts and get a few things with her, and it worked. Kelsey is very athletic and can do a few things for us."

Dorsey led Evansville Harrison with 14 points, and Phillips followed with 13. Woodruff finished with 10 for the Lady Warriors, who connected on 17 of 31 free throws and had 19 turnovers.

"They outscored us 13 points from the foul line tonight," Voelker said. "We fouled them, and we don't do a good job of attacking the rim to get fouled. When we go, we go not to get hit and not get touched. How many times did we go into the lane and come up short? Things are correctable with this group, but they've got to decide how hard they want to work to get that done."

"Hopefully, we're able to progress a little bit as time goes on," Voelker said. "It's slowing down, executing a little bit better. We were fortunate last year; we got a lot of layups. Tonight, everything was a 10-foot jump shot. Sadly, that's how this team is going to go a little bit, but we have to do a better job trying to create some layups and create some different looks for ourselves. … We've got to have some more consistent effort from what we're doing quarter-wise."

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