December 12, 2012The Floyd Central Lady Highlanders put up a defensive wall Saturday night against visiting North Harrison, keeping the Lady Cats at bay and cruising to a 57-42 win. The Lady Cats also had trouble finding the basket, while Floyd Central came into the game a little shorthanded but with a lot of focus.
"We're outsized every night," North Harrison coach Missy Voyles said. "Knowing that we need to do a better job with position defense and be more aggressive checking cutters and making sure we're really accurate with blockouts, until we know that people that outsize us are going to hurt us. We work on it constantly. We've got to understand that we're going to be outsized every night."
Floyd Central’s Tori Kingsley (30) and Abbie Engle put some heat on North Harrison’s Brittany Knight in the second half. Photo by Wade Bell
Floyd Central coach Kirk Hamsley had his own worries coming to the game after starting forward Riley Kaiser suffered a season-ending knee injury during practice.
"I was real worried," Hamsley said. "I thought our kids stepped up and did a nice job. We're still not playing with a lot of fluid on offense. We're still kind of stagnant. We need to do some better things, but I think Riley did so many little things. She's big enough to still work the zones and presses. She can handle the ball and still shoot from outside. Replacing her with those other kids is different."
Riley's younger sister, Madison, however, was up for the challenge and came out on fire in the first quarter, scoring eight of Floyd Central's first 10 points. That set the tone as the Lady Highlanders jumped to an 18-11 lead. Brittany Knight gave the Lady Cats something to cheer about with a three-ball. Floyd Central missed twice and North Harrison three times as the period ended with the Lady Highlanders leading 18-14.
Hamsley said Madison Kaiser was ready to take up the slack for her older sister.
"She told me before the game she was going to have a good game," Hamsley said. "I asked her if she was ready to play and she said, 'You know I am.' That's the kind of kid that she is. She's a very competitive kid. She loves to play and she loves the game, and you don't have to get her motivated."
The Lady Cats saw themselves get farther behind in the second period as Floyd Central began the period with an 11-0 run to lead 29-14. The Lady Cats spent much of the half firing up three-point attempts, hitting just 2 of 13 from behind the arc. The Lady Cats finally saw some shots fall late in the period and cut their deficit to 36-25 at halftime.
"Considering that I told them that they dare you to attack the basket, shooting 13 three's was a lot more three's than we should have taken," Voyles said. "We talked early on that they were going to play man and overplay you ... We like that line. Sometimes I think it's got a little electricity running through it and we're afraid to step over it."
"The three's that they had, some of them were tough three's," Hamsley said. "They weren't easy. We did a better job of rotating over and playing harder tonight."
Kaiser and Tori Kingsley pushed Floyd Central's lead back to 15, 40-25, to begin the second half, but Kendra Lambert countered with a three for the Lady Cats. The teams then traded baskets to the end of the period and into the fourth quarter. The Lady Highlanders eventually pushed the lead back to 18. Lambert hit a three as the game ended, giving Floyd Central the 57-42 win.
"We played fairly even the second half," Voyles said. "We lost the game in the second quarter. I'd like to know how many free throws we missed and how many offensive boards we gave up in that less-than-four-minute span that we gave the game away."
"We took a step forward today on defense," Hamsley said. "We were playing OK defense, but we've got to be that kind of defense where we're going to have to grind it out in games. For a while, they had 17 forever. We built a bit of a lead there. They were stuck at 14 and 17, and I realized we're playing pretty good defense."
Madison Kaiser led Floyd Central with 16, and Tori Kingsley followed with 14 for the game. The Lady Highlanders hit 19 of 56 field goals (34 percent) but connected on 18 of 24 free throws. Floyd turned the ball over 15 times.
"She wanted to step up and she did," Hamsley said of Kaiser. "She's been good for us all year, just solid, consistent. She plays hard, rebounds, defends and she can score."
Kendra Lambert and Brittany Knight shared scoring honors for the Lady Cats with 15 points each. North Harrison struggled from the field with 14 of 55 field goals (25 percent) and also from the charity stripe, hitting 10 of 21 free throws. North Harrison also had 15 turnovers.
"They get out and overplay you and dare you to go backdoor, and we were," Voyles said. "The problem comes in more, they rush your offense. You have to hit the layups they give you. We actually ran through our offense fairly well. We just couldn't hit a layup and couldn't hit a free throw. You're not going to win when you can't hit layups and you can't hit free throws."
Floyd Central, now with the loss of Riley Kaiser, must change some gears and find a way to fill the hole left by the starting junior forward. Hamsley said it won't be easy.
"We're going to do it on the fly," he said. "You don't have time to do much because you've got games. We've got two practices then we play Charlestown. Then you've got a week of practice and then you play Jeffersonville. It's worse to lose a point-type forward guard because she handles the ball and does those things. That puts some other kids in positions they're going to have to do some things they normally wouldn't have to do. It puts a lot of pressure on the kids."
Voyles, meanwhile, said her team will have to put in a little overtime.
"I'd like to hit a free throw," she said. "One or two in a row would be nice. We're going to start working on that with morning shooting starting Monday."