By GREG BURTON
Special to Southern Indiana Preps
FLOYDS KNOBS — When two top-10 teams meet in high school basketball in Indiana, people expect to see a tight, tough game.
Tuesday night at Floyd Central, the Class 4A No. 6 Highlanders met up with the Class 4A No. 9 Jeffersonville Red Devils. The game lived up to its expectations.
In the end, the host Highlanders pulled away in the final five minutes and emerged 55-51 winners.
The contest was close the entire way with 10 ties and 11 lead changes. The game also was physical, and generally the defense was hard-nosed.
“They (Jeff) are hard to play against,” said Floyd Central coach Todd Sturgeon. “Everyone on their team is strong.”
Jeffersonville (11-2 overall, 2-2 Hoosier Hills Conference) jumped out to a quick 7-2 advantage. But Floyd Central (12-1, 2-0) rallied and ended the first quarter with a 13-11 lead.
The teams went back and forth in the second period, with six lead changes and three ties. Floyd Central scored the last points of the quarter on a bucket by Cobie Barnes to take a 28-26 lead into the locker room.
Barnes and teammate Luke Gohmann provided most of the offensive power for the Highlanders in the first half. Barnes scored 11 points, and Gohmann added nine.
“I don’t think either one of those guys (Gohmann and Barnes) had their best game, but they had big, athletic defenders guarding them,” said Sturgeon.
Gohmann led the Highlanders in scoring for the game with 17 points, while Barnes finished with 13.
Bailey Falkenstein, coming off an off game against Providence last Saturday in Jeff’s 65-45 win, poured in 12 first-half points for the Red Devils. Falkenstein was the game’s leading scorer with 18 points.
The third quarter continued in the same vein, with four lead changes and three ties. Floyd Central took the lead for good during the period on an old-fashioned three-point play by Brendon Hobson, making the score 37-35.
Jeffersonville tied the score two more times at 39, and later in the fourth period at 45 on a bucket by Jaden Coleman. The Red Devils never reclaimed the lead, however.
A big spark for Floyd Central off the bench was Nick Winchell. The junior added eight points. He hit four clutch free throws down the stretch when the Highlanders outscored the Red Devils 10-6 to end the game.
“He was a big key to this game. Over Christmas he was sick with this Black Plague that everybody’s been getting. But in practice, he’s been getting better and better,” said Sturgeon of Winchell.
For Jeffersonville, the end of the game seemed to be a struggle to get the shots the Red Devils wanted.
“(At the end) offensively, we had possessions where we didn’t make very good choices,” said Jeffersonville coach Joe Luce. “We kept the ball around the perimeter too much, and didn’t get good shots. Unfortunately, they capitalized and that was the game.
“We were never able to get the lead a little bit and spread the floor.”
By contrast, Floyd Central executed well over the final five minutes, spelling the difference in the game.
Gohmann scored twice during this time. Winchell hit four free throws and Matt Weimer also hit two free throws down the stretch.
During the same stretch, when Floyd Central enjoyed its largest lead of the night at 53-47, Jaden Coleman hit two buckets and Falkenstein hit a shot with 10 seconds remaining.
“At the end of the day, we grew up a little bit. We also showed some immaturity in pressure situations,” said Luce.
Jeffersonville will return to the court at Johnson Arena on Saturday, hosting HHC opponent Columbus East (5-5, 0-1). Floyd Central will play at home against conference foe Jennings County (3-9, 0-2) on Friday.
FLOYD CENTRAL 55, JEFFERSONVILLE 51
Jeff 11 15 13 12-51
Floyd Central 13 15 13 14-55
Jeffersonville (11-2, 2-2 Hoosier Hills Conference): Jacob Jones 1-4 0-0 3, Tre Coleman 4-14, 2-3 10, Jaden Coleman 5-9 0-0 12, Zeke Smith 3-5 0-0 6, Bailey Falkenstein 7-12 1-2 18, Jaylen Fairman 1-3 0-0 2, Hunter Schmitz 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-47 3-5 51.
Floyd Central (12-1, 2-0): Matt Weimer 0-6 2-3 2, Cobie Barnes 6-14 0-1 13, Luke Gohmann 8-13 0-0 17, Brendon Hobson 4-5 1-3 9, Evan Nichols 3-4 0-0 6, Nick Winchell 2-3 4-4 8, Levi Siewert 0-1 0-0 0, Gabe Shireman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-46 7-11 55.
3-point field goals: Jeffersonville 6-14 (Falkenstein 3-6, J. Coleman 2-2, Jones 1-3, Fairman 0-1, T. Coleman 0-2); Floyd Central 2-5 (Barnes 1-1, Gohmann 1-3, Weimer 0-1).
Rebounds: Jeffersonville 23 (T. Coleman 7, J. Coleman 7); Floyd Central 28 (Gohmann 8, Barnes 7).
Turnovers: Jeffersonville 14, Floyd Central 13.
Total fouls: Jeffersonville 14, Floyd Central 8.
Fouled out: none.Junior varsity: Floyd Central 55, Jeffersonville 33.