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Floyd uses strong second half to pull away

Floyd uses strong second half to pull away
Floyd uses strong second half to pull away
Floyd Central senior Jessica Whittaker, right, gives Providence’s Kady Bandy a rough way to go as she swipes the ball for a steal in the first half. Despite a lackluster performance, the Lady Highlanders came away with a 47-27 win. (Photo by Wade Bell)

Sometimes flying without a traffic controller can be a difficult task as you can easily lose your way with no one making sure you’re going in the right direction. For a while, the Floyd Central Lady Highlanders found themselves in that position Saturday night against host Providence as point guard Brigid Morrissey sat on the bench with a groin pull. Floyd finally came out of the fog late, and pulled away for a 47-27 win.
“All in all, we’re pleased with a win,” Floyd coach Joe Voelker said. “We get out of here holding them to 10 points the second half. In looking at the stats, we played poorly in the second quarter. That’s probably the biggest thing. We played a poor second quarter.
“It was nice to come in here without Brigid and get better as the game went on,” he said. “At times we look at her too much. It’s just taking the game as it comes to see what happens.”
Both teams had trouble finding their marks the entire first half. The Lady Highlanders had eight turnovers in the first eight minutes, but Providence had just a single field goal find the net in 13 chances. Floyd didn’t do much better, making just two field goals in seven opportunities, but the Lady Highlanders held a 9-4 lead after one quarter.
“Without Brigid, I think we kept looking around the first half wondering where Brigid was,” Voelker said. “We were out of sync.”
Jennifer Smith pushed the Floyd lead to 12-4, but Whitney Thomas then scored seven of eight points in an 8-1 Providence run to pull the Lady Pioneers within one, 13-12. Providence then gained some confidence with Thomas swishing a three and Natalie McDonough scoring inside to give the Lady Pioneers a 17-16 advantage.
Morrissey came in the game briefly, but she didn’t have the mobility she had before the injury. Floyd did manage to finish out the half with a 7-0 burst and took a 23-17 lead at halftime.
“We tried to play (Morrissey) a little bit, but you could tell it was bothering her,” Voelker said. “I just decided she didn’t need to play. It was probably better for her to rest. We probably shouldn’t have played her the minute and a half or two minutes that we did. Hopefully, she’ll heal a little bit and be able to come back next week and play then.”
The Floyd coach also admitted a tactical error on his part in the second quarter when Providence made its run for the lead.
“In looking in hindsight, I shouldn’t have played zone,” he said. “They got a couple of threes against the zone, and that was on me. I just felt like we had to change defenses and see where we were at.”
The third quarter was another poor shooting quarter for both teams, with only five field goals combined in the eight minutes. Floyd finished out the quarter with a 6-2 burst and held a 31-22 lead.
The Lady Highlanders stepped up their pressure in the fourth quarter, and Providence got off only four attempts from the field. The Lady Pioneers blanked out and had to settle for five free throws in the quarter. Floyd outscored Providence 16-5 in the quarter and went on to get a 47-27 win.
Voelker said the second half came down to one thing: “Patience.”
“We haven’t played like that in a few weeks,” he said. “We’d just throw the ball wherever we wanted. We told them we wanted a touch inside and we were trying to get too many touches inside.”
Smith came off the bench to lead the Lady Highlanders with 11 points. Floyd was just 12 of 39 from the field (30 percent) but 21 of 33 from the free-throw line. The Lady Highlanders turned the ball over 23 times.
“Luckily, we didn’t do a poor job from the free-throw line,” Voelker said. “(Smith) was five-of-six the first half. She had 11 and kept us in it for the game and led us in scoring.”
“We told them we had to get the ball into the post,” the Floyd coach said. “When we got the ball into the post, we were successful, but we were just too impatient. We had too many times we wanted to put the ball on the ground instead of squaring the basketball through and making a nice pass.”
Thomas led the Lady Pioneers with 20 points, hitting six of the Lady Pioneers’ seven field goals. Providence was just 18 percent from the field on 7 of 39 shooting and connected on 9 of 15 free throws. The Lady Pioneers turned the ball over 18 times.
“Every time we come to play them, they defend you,” Voelker said of the Pioneers. “They defend very well. You have to give them credit for that. They had some trouble scoring. The Thomas kid ended up with 20 (points). We held her down a little bit in the second half.”
Voelker said he learned much from Morrissey’s absence.
“We definitely need to work on our handling and our press break,” he said. “We didn’t do a good job of hitting the spots. We were pretty fortunate. There’s some times when Brigid beats it by herself. We’ve got to do a much better job of hitting our press breaks. If we do that, we’ll be all right. We want to be competitive coming into the sectional.”
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