December 19, 2012Having struggled from the free-throw line during their last few games, the Floyd Central Lady Highlanders last week spent a little extra time practicing at the charity stripe in preparation for their home stand against Charlestown last Wednesday. Senior Tori Kingsley said there was a little extra treat to sweeten their motivation.
"We were not doing very well," she said. "So, we worked on free throws this week and we got M&M's if we made free throws, and so that was our motivation. I guess it worked because me and Niki (Bruno) both did really good from the free-throw line, and so did Brooke (Hinton)."
Floyd Central’s Shelby Rost hits the deck hard as Charlestown’s Kim Knight is called for traveling while stepping over the junior. Photo by Wade Bell
The Lady Highlanders did do well, hitting 14 of 16 in the fourth quarter, with Kingsley sinking the game-winners with 3.1 seconds left, as Floyd Central earned the 65-63 victory.
"We hit them the last two minutes," Floyd Central coach Kirk Hamsley said. "We were getting free throws from different kids. It just wasn't one or two kids. Our big kids hit some free throws. Our guards did, which was nice to see because of the tournament and down the road. It was nice to see the kids be able to do that in that situation. You can't practice what we had to go through tonight. It was nice to see them do that."
Things went back and forth early, but the Lady Highlanders used an 11-2 burst to go ahead 15-7 by the end of the first period.
Charlestown's Kaitlynn Henning brought the Lady Pirates back into the game in the second period. She scored on two transition baskets, and Justice Burdin added a third in an 8-2 run that closed the gap to two.
Following a deuce by Madison Kaiser, Henning buried a pair of three-balls around a Brooke Hinton deuce to tie the game at 21. Floyd Central continued to hold a slight edge until Burdin sank a three that gave Charlestown a 31-28 edge.
The two teams traded points one more time, and the Lady Pirates took a 33-30 edge to the locker room at halftime.
"They were hitting shots," Hamsley said of Charlestown, which connected on 10 of 13 field-goal attempts in the second period with 18 points in the paint. "We were upset because we were not upfronting the post. We just weren't sliding tonight. This is just one of the nights we were flat, and I was upset with them. It was just a night where we were flat and not playing well."
Charlestown led most of the third period, pushing its advantage to 41-35 after Burdin put in six straight points.
Floyd Central later answered when Kaiser started a 9-0 run that gave the Lady Highlanders a 49-45 lead. Charlestown, however, came back to lead again by the end of the quarter, 50-49.
The Lady Pirates' lead went to 56-50 as Floyd Central struggled from the field, missing their first five shots. Shelby Rost finally scored inside, but Charlestown continued to lead.
Their field goals may have been lacking, but the Lady Highlanders' extra practice at the free-throw line now came into play.
Floyd Central missed its final seven field-goal attempts but made up for it by hitting 14 of 16 free throws.
Hinton tied the game at 63 with just under 10 seconds left.
Floyd Central's Kinglsey then went to the free-throw line with 3.1 seconds left as Taylor Thrasher fouled out. Kingsley focused and sank both attempts to give the Lady Highlanders a two-point lead.
Charlestown got one last shot off, but it was off the mark, giving the Lady Highlanders the 65-63 win.
"I just wanted to make one, and when I made the first one, I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, yes.' And then I made the second one and was like, 'We won! We won!' " Kingsley said.
"I didn't want anybody that was yelling stuff or making noises to get in my head," she said. "I was like, 'It's just me on the line and the basket and the ball. I've got to make them.' I just tried to remain calm."
"This was a night Brooke didn't hit shots, Madison was in foul trouble," Hamsley said. "We were a little bit short-handed, but the kids found a way to win. You're going to have those nights. It's not always going to be 10 of 15, and you need a night like that."
Kaiser led the Lady Highlanders with 17 points, while Bruno and Hinton tallied 15 each. Floyd Central hit just 19 of 68 shots (28 percent) but made up for it at the charity stripe, connecting on 25 of 33 free throws. Floyd Central committed nine turnovers.
"At halftime, we were talking about rebounding and being unselfish and shooting the ball better and taking better shots," Hamsley said. "I thought we rushed some shots early. We got a little frustrated and kept trying to make things happen. We've got to be more patient offensively. At halftime, we had missed 18 around the basket. It was just put-back, easy one, easy one, stuff like that."
Burdin led Charlestown with 24 points. Henning, who had 18 points in the first half, managed just two points in the second half. The Lady Pirates connected on 24 of 44 field-goal attempts (55 percent) and 11 of 15 free throws. Charlestown turned over the ball 26 times.
"We wanted to take (Henning) away because we felt like the offense ran through her," Hamsley said. "But then Burdin had a real nice game. She played really well and did a heck of a job. We didn't plan on her being that strong in the post. Our post kids could have played better defensively, and we didn't."
"Give them all the credit," Hamsley said. "They (Charlestown) played their butts off and they played well. They probably had every opportunity to win the game. We just kind of pulled it out. I thought our kids dug it out in that fourth quarter. We were down by one to begin the fourth quarter. I thought we did a nice job of getting ourselves back in it and getting in a position to win. We kept fighting."