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Highlanders squash Cougars early

January 19, 2011
Floyd Central coach Randy Gianfagna admitted to being a little concerned before his Highlanders' game against visiting North Harrison Saturday night. The night before, they battled hard against powerhouse Jeffersonville, and Gianfagna wasn't quite sure how his team would respond to an attack by the Cougars. Floyd Central, however, got business done early and grabbed a 47-33 win.

Floyd Central’s Wade Niehoff, right, becomes a thief as he picks Cougar Josh Wenning’s pocket in the first half of the Highlanders’ 47-33 win. Photo by Wade Bell
"You always worry a little bit about how they'll handle it, but when you come out to a 14-0 run, it looks good," Gianfagna said. "I thought we moved the ball pretty well, and we just didn't execute offensively from the 14-0, I didn't think, the rest of the night."

"Our guys fought all night long, and, for the most part, they tried to do what I wanted," North Harrison coach Greg Walters said. "Sometimes we weren't patient enough. It's no secret we've struggled to shoot the ball at a lot of our games. We're trying to do some things to combat that and tonight we did do a lot of good things."

Quinton Miller sparked the Highlanders early by getting eight of the team's first 14 points for that 14-0 lead. In the last minute of the period, Lincoln Jones put away a single and a three-ball for the Cougars, but the Highlanders still held a 16-4 advantage.

The Cougars made little headway in the second quarter. Jones did most of North Harrison's scoring again, connecting on a pair of three-pointers and a free throw, the latter three leaving the Cougars with a 10-point deficit, 23-13, at halftime.

"We didn't listen," Walters said of the first period. "We took three quick shots and one of our players drove in with a foot-and-a-half height difference a couple of times there, and we just weren't patient."

"We played at Pekin Eastern last night, and we were really patient," he said. "We had one of our best offensive performances. We dictated the game and made them come guard us, and that allowed us to get a lot of easy baskets."

"I was upset at half we were up 10," Gianfagna said. "We just told our guys, 'How many guys can we beat in our conference playing the way we played tonight?' Everybody goes, 'None.' So, that's what we have to play. You have to play like you're playing the big dogs every night."

The Cougars looked hopeful early in the third period when Jones scored twice in the paint to close the gap to six, 23-17. Jordan Thompson countered for the Highlanders. Then came a flurry of fouls before the Highlanders continued for a 9-0 run and a 32-17 lead.

The game never saw single digits from that point on, and the Highlanders went on to get the 47-33 win.

"It was six and we had the ball and we got an offensive rebound and got impatient that led to a fast break on the other end," Walters said. "That kind of got things rolling in the wrong direction for us."

"You have to give their defense credit," Gianfagna said. "They played pretty good defense."

Thompson led the Highlanders with 11 points. Floyd Central was 14 of 30 (47 percent) from the field and 15 of 23 from the charity stripe. The Highlanders had just seven turnovers for the 32 minutes.

"I didn't think we took good shots," Gianfagna said. "We kind of forced some shots and just wound up turning it over. We said we wanted to get in transition and get some, but then we wind up throwing some crazy passes in transition."

Jones led North Harrison (3-7) with 14 points. The Cougars connected on 11 of 31 (35 percent) field goals and 4 of 10 free throws. North Harrison had 13 turnovers.

"Their kid is the Jones kid," Gianfagna said. "The two times that we left him open in the first half, he found jumpers. I was a little upset with that."

"We were able to execute, and I thought we fought hard on defense," Walters said. "Floyd Central is a good team, and I wish we could have been a little bit closer there at the end. In terms of us, I thought the guys played as hard as they could. They're really good kids, and we're doing the best we can."

"We're 9-4," Gianfagna said. "We talked about that we're at the halfway point of the season this weekend because we play 22 (games) this year, with four games in the tournament. So, now we go to Jennings (County). We've lost two conference games on the road, and this is our year we've got a lot of conference games on the road."

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