Floyd Central upsets New Albany PDF Print E-mail

By Alan Stewart
Special Correspondent

The custodians shutting off the lights inside Floyd Central’s gymnasium more than an hour after the 14th-ranked Highlanders’ incredible 49-47 overtime victory over top-ranked New Albany wasn’t enough to stop the steady stream of fans offering congratulatory handshakes and pats to the back for Highlander coach Todd Sturgeon, who simply shifted the makeshift meet-and-greet line into the hallway.

 

A standing-room-only crowd of about 3,000 that included first-year Indiana University head coach Archie Miller, on hand to watch the Bulldogs’ star senior Romeo Langford, witnessed a 20-game losing streak by Floyd to the Bulldogs come to a tantalizing close on Joe Hinton Court.

Floyd Central (4-0, 1-0 Hoosier Hills) held a 14-4 lead at the end of the first quarter and extended it to a 22-6 advantage with 5:44 left in the opening half after Langford picked up his second foul that resulted in an old-fashioned three-point play by senior Cobie Barnes, who scored all 14 of his points in the first half before being sidelined with cramps later in the contest.

The hosts never trailed.

“It was a great atmosphere and really good for our guys in that respect and we had to deal with some adversity,” Sturgeon said. “Brendan Hobson doesn’t play (injury) and Cobie is right now going to the hospital because he got so dehydrated in the second half. We had a lot of guys step up to get this big win. To hold that team in the 40s through an overtime ... are you kidding me? That’s pretty darn good.”

Coming into the game New Albany had been averaging 92 points per outing (the Bulldogs torched Ft. Wayne North, 97-59, the following day in Southport). Sturgeon said being a senior-laden team that talked on defense was key on a night when decibel levels at some points reached over 110db. Floyd’s defense held New Albany’s offense to just two field goals through the first 10:30 of the tussle.

“Again, I can’t say enough about the guys and their effort on defense. It was hard to hear out there and they were all talking and saying who was where,” Sturgeon said.

New Albany went on a run after Barnes’ three-point play, with a pair of buckets from senior guard Sean East, who scored a game-high 19 points. Following baskets by Barnes and Evan Nichols, the Bulldogs went on an 11-6 spurt that ended on an East trey at the halftime buzzer, trimming Floyd’s lead to 31-24.

East started the second half with a pair of buckets to bring the deficit to 31-28, but the Highlanders had a 7-0 spurt on buckets from Nichols and a three-ball from Luke Gohmann. New Albany bounced back with its own run, cutting the Highlanders’ 38-28 lead to 38-35 at the end of three after goals by East, Darin Starks and a Langford dunk.

The brawl was finally knotted at 41-all on back-to-back Langford dunks with 4:45 left in the contest. From there, only two field goals were made: a deuce by Gohmann and a bucket by Julien Hunter.

The Highlanders had the final possession of regulation but Matt Weimer’s shot in the lane was partially blocked by Trey Hourigan and the game went to overtime.

On the tip, Nichols was able to out-battle Langford for possession, with senior Gabe Shireman putting the Highlanders ahead with his first shot of the night. Less than a minute later he struck again with another field goal, his only points (and field goal attempts) of the evening.

“Nichols gave us the ball, we score first and that changes the dynamic of the game,” Sturgeon said.

The Bulldogs (3-1, 0-1) tied it again after Hourigan had a put-back and Langford dropped in a goal with :34 remaining.

The game-winner came on a slice to the goal by senior Matt Weimer with 10 seconds left. New Albany had two shots to take the W, but a three by Langford was off the mark, as was a deep try at the buzzer by Hourigan.

“We are in the same school district, so obviously it’s important to (the players). I also think it’s important, a psychological hurdle for us, just that not only do we think we can do it, but we actually can do it,” Sturgeon said. “We didn’t want to give them two chances to win it at the end, but we’ll take this one.”

Gohmann led the winners with 17 and drained four triples. Nichols added 10 points.

East paced all scorers with 19 while Romeo Langford added 15.

“Floyd has a lot of experience and this is a tough place to play,” New Albany head coach Jim Shannon said. “They had a great game plan and worked it well and deserved to win the game. I think we deserved to win it too. Heck, it went to overtime and a last-second shot. You have to credit Floyd tonight and we had beaten them 20 straight, so now we have to take it and handle some adversity.”

Langford was held to his lowest point-total of the young season, and was noticeably fatigued coming out of the halftime break, electing to sit on the sidelines while his teammates warmed up.

“Romeo was sick this week and didn’t practice with us Tuesday or Wednesday due to strep throat,” Shannon said. “I thought he played fine, but you could tell he didn’t quite have his legs completely under him tonight, and if team’s are going to put two and three guys on him, we have to have other guys step up.”

“We got off to a bad start,” Shannon said. “We were out of sync offensively. We turned it over and just couldn’t get it going. Our defense got us going in the second half.”

Floyd Central is back in action next Saturday night at rival Providence.

FLOYD CENTRAL 49, NEW ALBANY 47

New Albany    4  20  11  8  4—47

Floyd Central14  17    7  5  6—49

New Albany (3-1, 0-1 HHC): Romeo Langford 15, Darin Starks 2, Sean East 19, Julien Hunter 4, Trey Hourigan 7.

Floyd Central (4-0, 1-0): Cobie Barnes 14, Gabe Shireman 4, Matt Weimer 2, Luke Gohmann 17, Evan Nichols 10.

3-point field goals: New Albany 5 (Langford, East 3, Hourigan), Floyd Central 5 (Barnes, Gohmann 4).

Rebounds: New Albany 24, Floyd Central 30.

Turnovers: New Albany 11, Floyd Central 13.

Field goal shooting: New Albany 20-46, Floyd Central 21-47.

3-point shooting: New Albany 5-20, Floyd Central 5-11.

Free throw shooting: New Albany 2-4, Floyd Central 2-3.