Floyd falls short to Silver Creek
By Wade Bell, Sports Writer
Last Tuesday’s boys’ basketball game between Floyd Central and Silver Creek lived up to the hype as the two teams went head to head in a tightly contested game. It all came down to the last quarter as the Dragons finally pulled away for a 68-59 win to improve to 13-4 for the season, while the Highlanders dropped to 10-4.
“We had several possessions in a row there with shots to tie, a three to take the lead,” said Floyd Central coach Todd Sturgeon. “Cole (Harritt), one of our best shooters, and this is nothing against him, got wide open and that’s what it comes down to, getting them behind and getting their team thinking, ‘Oh we could lose this game.’ We just couldn’t get over the hump. Then, you’re there in the last four minutes where you have to take some chances and stuff, and they stretched it out a little bit.”
The game began with the two teams trading paint through about all of the first quarter. Neither team led by more than three during the eight minutes, and Harritt put the Highlanders in front with a three-ball late in the period. Floyd Central kept that edge through the remainder of the period, leading 17-16.
Hayden Garten scored his only shot of the game when he drilled a three to start the second quarter to put Silver Creek up front. Floyd Central guard Jake Heidbreder tied the game again at 19 scoring in the paint, but Trey Kaufman scored twice to push the Dragons’ lead to four. The two teams traded baskets for the next few minutes, then Kaufman and Kooper Jacobi got back-to-back buckets for a six-point Dragons’ edge. Floyd Central finished out the half with an 8-3 burst, and the Highlanders went to the locker room down one, 34-33.
“We only had one day to prepare,” Sturgeon said. “To be honest, (Brandon) Northern hadn’t been playing. We really didn’t know if he was going to play, so we weren’t sure how to prepare. That’s one reason why we played all zone. In one day, it’s hard to go through their 16 offensive sets and their 12 zone sets and seven out-of-bounds plays. If you’re not careful, you’ll guard none of it worth a damn. So, we had to try to pare it down. We gave them two things in our man-to-man they might do and then we talked about our zone.”
“The first half I thought we did a phenomenal job of keeping them off the boards, but some of that is I think they just went a little bit harder in the second half up to the boards,” he said. “Anytime there’s any sort of penetration, and when you have to help, that turns that guy loose to rebound. Normally, that’s like a 6-4, pimply faced kid that we can still block out with our guards, but, with those guys, that’s not who’s left over there. You’re leaving one of your guards on the weak side to wrestle the bear.”
Silver Creek scored the first four points of the second half to lead at five. The Dragons’ lead briefly went to six on a Kaufman free throw, but Wesley Celichowski later cut that in half on a deuce-and-one. Kyle Poates later gave the Highlanders a spark with five quick points, closing the gap to two, 46-44 with one quarter to go.
The two teams traded points again to start the fourth quarter. Two minutes later, the Dragons punched out a 9-3 run to lead by eight, with Isaac Hinton drilling a pair of threes in the run. Silver Creek later turned that lead to double-digits when Jacobi scored in the paint. Floyd Central was able to close the gap to five but got no closer as the Dragons finished out the game with a 4-0 burst for the 68-59 win.
“I thought our kids played well,” Sturgeon said. “I thought they played a pretty good game offensively. They (Silver Creek) weren’t missing very many shots, and they’re hard to keep off the boards when they do miss it.”
“You’re not going to beat that team when their supporting players are knocking in shots … ,” said Sturgeon said. “They’ve got three guys; if you’ve got a second defender, they’re going to just lay it in the goal. Not too many teams have that. We have one. New Albany won the state championship with two of those guys. These guys have three. It’s tough to guard with one guy, so they’re a handful.”
Heidbreder led the Highlanders with 23 points, and Poates came off the bench for 10 points. Floyd Central connected on 19 of 49 field goals (39%) and 14 of 16 free throws. The Highlanders had just nine turnovers for the 32 minutes.
“Kyle was really good,” said the Floyd Central coach. “He’s continued to play well for us. He and Wesley (Celichowski) are two guys that come in for us that are unique guys. Not too many people have a 6-10 guy come in off the bench and that doesn’t cause them as much problems because they’ve got one of their own who is older and more experienced. Kyle brings some speed to us that is hard for teams to deal with. Even those guys had trouble with him that way. Our bench has been good for us throughout the year. We’ve been fortunate that way.”
Kaufman led the Dragons with 25 points, and Northern followed with 15. Hinton and Jacobi had 11 each for Silver Creek, which hit 23 of 43 shots from the field (53%), 15 of 20 free throws and had 13 turnovers for the game.
“We were trying to reduce (Kaufman’s) touches, but he’s a grown man,” Sturgeon said. “I thought we did a decent job on him but, again, we would have liked to have had a little more preparation. We talked about how we’re going to dig and double in certain situations, but we let him get out of it a few times and we wish it was a little tighter. But who knows, they didn’t have a lot of time to prepare either. We had that rescheduled.”
Sturgeon said his team still had several things to tune up before the post-season tournament starts.
“I think what we take from it is that we need to get a little bit better if we’re going to beat the best teams,” he said. “That’s what we want to do. So, we’re still cleaning up a few things on offense and tightening up a few things on the defensive end for us to be able to compete with those very best teams.”
Silver Creek 16 18 12 22 – 68
Floyd Central 17 16 11 15 – 59
Silver Creek – Kaufman 25, Northern 15, Hinton 11, Jacobi 11, Garten 3, Schoen 3.
Floyd Central – Heidbreder 23, Poates 10, Moore 9, Washington 8, Harritt 6, Celichowski 3.
3-pointers – Silver Creek 4 (Hinton 2, Garten 1, Schoen 1); Floyd Central 4 (Heidbreder 2, Moore 1, Washington 1).