Floyd Central shuts down Bedford
By Wade Bell, Sports Writer
For the first 22 of the 32 minutes of Floyd Central’s boys’ basketball game against visiting Bedford North Lawrence, the Stars wanted to increase their odds by slowing the game down with a lower score. For 22 minutes that strategy worked, putting the Stars in a position to pull out an upset win. The Stars, however, blinked out in the last 10 minutes of the game Thursday, allowing the Highlanders to make a major run in the fourth to win an important Hoosier Hills Conference game to keep them in the race.
“All we did was stand around and shoot three-point shots in the first half,” said Floyd Central coach Todd Sturgeon. “The second half we got a lot more at the rim.”
The first quarter the Stars showed they came to play and began the game with an 8-2 lead. Jake Heidbreder and Cole Harritt put in the next six to tie the game at eight. Kooper Staley went inside for the Stars, but Heidbreder countered with a three and Kyle Poates drove the lane twice to score for a 15-10 first-quarter Highlanders’ lead.
Staley drilled a three to start the second quarter, but Max Tripure countered for the Highlanders. Ben Cosner buried a three as the tide seemed to turn to the Stars’ favor. Caleb Washington scored in the paint for Floyd Central, but Staley went down the lane, closing the gap to one. From there, the two teams traded paint back and forth and the half ended in a 25 tie.
Sturgeon said it was obvious Bedford wanted to make the game a low-scoring one.
“To their credit, they just decided to spread us out and decide they were either going to hang on to the ball or we’re going to have to come out and guard them,” said the Floyd Central coach. “We didn’t do a very good job in the first half of keeping guys in front. We’ve got some decisions to make. You’re going to come out here and guard them all the way out at halfcourt because they had Staley down there in the corner. The second you flinch toward that ball they’re kicking it to him. He usually knocks them in. It’s not like he just got hot tonight. He’s a really good shooter. Cosner made a couple, and he can shoot it, too. It’s not like that was surprising to us.”
Bedford briefly went in front to start the third quarter on a Cosner jumper. The Highlanders countered with a 9-2 run to lead 34-29. Staley got part of that back with a deuce-and-one. The Stars kept themselves in striking distance to the end of the period down 44-37. The first point of the fourth, a freebie by Colten Leach, would be Bedford’s last. The Highlanders ran off 17 unanswered points and went for the 61-38 win.
“Finally, we got to a point there to where they’re going to have to shoot it so now we can play some zone,” said Sturgeon. “We sprinkled in our 1-3-1 and stole a couple of possessions out of that. We don’t practice it that much and I’m not that confident in it, but it’s a little bit of a different look.”
Heidbreder led Floyd Central with 16, and Washington had 11. Poates and Brady Moore added 10 each for the Highlanders, who connected on 22 of 41 field goals (54%) and 14 of 19 free throws. The Highlanders had just five turnovers.
“Poates really came in and gave us a shot in the arm,” Sturgeon said. “He always creates some tempo and speeds things up for us at the defensive end. He came in there and knocked in some shots in the lane and stepped up and made those free throws when he got fouled on the three-pointer. Kyle was really good.”
Staley led Bedford with 16, and Leach finished with 10. The Stars were 13 of 40 from the field (33%) and 7 of 11 on free throws. Bedford finished with 11 turnovers.
“We were fortunate there and then we found a couple of things,” said Sturgeon. “We were deep in the library in the second half, trying to find things that would work on offense. We finally found a couple of buckets out of something we haven’t run in a month.
Bedford North Lawrence 10 15 12 1 – 38
Floyd Central 15 10 19 17 – 61
Bedford North Lawrence – Staley 16, Leach 10, Cosner 8, Miracle 4.
Floyd Central – Heidbreder 16, Washington 11, Moore 10, Poates 10, Celichowski 6, Tripure 5, Harritt 3.
3-pointers – Bedford NL 5 (Staley 3, Cosner 2); Floyd Central 3 (Harritt 1, Heidbreder 1, Tripure 1).