By GREG BURTON
Special to Southern Indiana Preps
CLARKSVILLE — Floyd Central has a believer in Providence head coach Rob Murawski.
Friday night at the Larkin Center, Class 4A No. 6 Floyd Central visited and took control in the second period. The Highlanders fairly well dominated the game from that point and won easily by a score of 53-30.
“Wow! They play well. Their defense looked really good tonight,” said the Providence coach.
Just as they had done in their previous outing against New Albany, the Highlanders (5-0) put on a defensive clinic about how to slow down or stop the opposing team’s offensive threat.
Floyd Central’s Matt Weimer, in particular, and his teammates as helpers held Providence’s Blake Murphy to six points.
“Matthew is an outstanding defender,” said Floyd Central coach Todd Sturgeon. “We use him a lot to take the other team’s best player and make it tough for him. He is one of the best defensive players in Southern Indiana, and he gets a lot of help as well. Murphy scored a couple of times in the second quarter, but that’s about it for the night.”
The Pioneers (1-3) stuck with Floyd Central for the first period, which ended in a 9-9 tie. Then the Highlanders clamped down defensively and limited Providence in general and Murphy, in particular, to take command of the game.
“We controlled tempo early, I thought. But as the game progressed and they double-teamed Blake, it got tough,” said Murawski. “I think Blake got a little frustrated from the fact that these guys are all friends. They play AAU together and he wanted to have a good game against them. Coach Sturgeon had a great game plan how to defend.”
Floyd Central outscored Providence 16-6 in the second period and led at the break 25-15. Luke Gohmann and Cobie Barnes scored six and five points respectively, in the quarter. The pair led all scorers on the evening, as Barnes finished with 22, and Gohmann checked out with 20.
Besides dominating defensively, the Highlanders also controlled the boards. For most of the night, Providence could only get one shot at the basket per possession against taller Floyd Central.
“We kind of dominated the boards,” said Sturgeon. “When we didn’t give them an outright layup, they didn’t get many second chances.”
“How do you rebound against their height? We were one-and-done all night,” agreed Murawski. “They’re so big. They’re strong.”
Floyd Central won the last 3 quarters outright, steadily increasing the lead.
Barnes had two highlight-film dunks in the second half. One was on a fast break, and the other was an alley-oop from Gohmann that brought the Highlander fans to their feet.
Cullen Ebert led the Pioneers in scoring with eight points.
Despite the loss, Murawski is pleased with the progress his team is making.
“We’re developing. We’re getting better day by day, and I see the progress,” said the Providence coach. “For the most part, I’m proud of them tonight. We held them to 50 points, but that’s a good team out there. If you would’ve told me after the Austin game (a season-opening loss), we’d hold Floyd Central to 50 points, I would’ve laughed at you.”
Floyd Central will play next Saturday against Hamilton Heights in the semifinals of the Indianapolis Roncalli Tournament.
FLOYD CENTRAL 53, PROVIDENCE 30
FLOYD CENTRAL 53, PROVIDENCE 30
Floyd Central 9 16 19 9-53
Providence 9 6 8 7-30
Floyd Central (5-0): Matt Weimer 0, Gabe Shireman 0, Evan Nichols 6, Luke Gohmann 20, Cobie Barnes 22, Nick Winchell 1, Cam Sturgeon 2, Braxton Cerqueira 2, Jake Heidbreder 0, Levi Siewert 0, Jalen Poates 0, Collin Braswell 0, Harrison Eades 0.
Providence (1-3): Cullen Ebert 8, Sterling Huber 3, Reece Libs 2, Austin Barnett 3, Blake Murphy 6, Nick Sexton 2, Hayden Burke 6, Bishop Edwards 0, Trey Beatty 0.
3-point field goals: Floyd Central 4 (Barnes 2, Gohmann 2); Providence 4 (Ebert 2, Murphy 1, Barnett 1).
Total fouls: Floyd Central 7, Providence 12.
Fouled out: none.
Junior varsity: Floyd Central 67, Providence 21.