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Missed FTs doom Highlanders


February 22, 2012
The Floyd Central Highlanders had more than their share of opportunities to break a three-game losing streak last Tuesday night against visiting Brownstown Central. The Highlanders got 29 attempts from the free-throw line but hit just 13 and had numerous bunnies bounce off the rim in a 63-62 loss to the Braves.

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Floyd Central’s Connor Schellenberg splits Brownstown Central defenders Brett McCoy, left, and Tanner Payton on his way to the basket. Schellenberg finished with 27 points, but the Highlanders came up a point short, 63-62. Photo by Wade Bell
"They were 19 of 22 (from the charity stripe), and we were 13 of 29," Floyd Central coach Randy Gianfagna said. "Hopefully, by sectional time, that goes away."

The Highlanders came out with some stout defense, and senior Connor Schellenberg lit up the nets for 10 points as Floyd Central blazed to a 15-4 lead. After a time-out, however, Brownstown regrouped and scored 11 unanswered points to notch the game up at 15 after one quarter.

The two teams traded the first four baskets of the second period, then Quinton Miller and Gavin O'Neal put in back-to-back deuces for a 23-19 Floyd Central edge.

Brownstown countered as Jalen Snodgrass and Chaz Schneider put in a three and deuce, respectively, for a one-point lead. Floyd Central took the lead back later in the period on a freebie by Schellenberg, but Kyle Wischmeier and Snodgrass connected on threes to give the Braves a 34-30 lead at halftime.

"We put in some new things this week," Gianfagna said. "We went into it with basically two weeks of work just to get more motion and movement. I thought we did that. There wasn't standing. There wasn't any of that stuff."

Three free throws by Snodgrass gave the Braves a seven-point gap to begin the second half. Floyd Central worked its way back to within three points, but Brownstown responded with an 8-2 run, jumping the Braves' lead to 45-36.

Miller hit a Floyd Central jumper, but McCory drilled another three, pushing the Brownstown lead to double figures at 48-38. The Highlanders countered this time with a 7-0 burst, cutting the lead to three, 48-45, with one quarter left.

"They're good shooters," Gianfagna said.

Nick Bomersbach got the first bucket of the fourth, and Miller later scored inside to put Floyd Central back on top.

At that point, the game became a tug of war. Floyd Central got chances to stay in front but missed 3 of 6 free throws while Snodgrass was cashing in on every opportunity at the charity stripe. Snodgrass hit 11 of 12 to keep Brownstown's lead at four, 63-59.

Schellenberg got a final three-ball, but it wasn't enough, as the Braves got the 63-62 win.

"They hit 11 of 12 (free throws) in the fourth, and we were 4 of 8 in the fourth," Gianfagna said. "In a one-point game, you can't miss 16 free throws."

"We went in at halftime and said we're missing layups and free throws," he said. "They're shooting jump shots that aren't going to go in the second half. … They threw up one at the end of the half, so we were like, 'They've hit every jump shot. Let's just keep pounding it.' We were going to make our free throws the second half, and we just didn't do it."

Schellenberg led the Highlanders with 27 points. Miller finished with 15, and Jordan Thompson had 11. The Highlanders hit 22 of 46 field-goal attempts (48 percent) and had 11 turnovers.

"He played well tonight," Gianfagna said of Schellenberg. "In the first half, he was very good. I thought all of our guys played well tonight. Our kids did everything they were supposed to do tonight except make free throws."

Snodgrass led Brownstown with 31 points, hitting three from behind the arc and 14 of 15 free throws. The Braves hit 18 of 46 shots (39 percent) but turned the ball over just nine times.

"We sing the fight song after every game that we win, and it's been a while since we've sung the fight song," the Floyd Central coach said. "We're a little disappointed. … I think it's more mental. We'll just keep on working on what we're doing."

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