All game long, Jeffersonville brought full-court pressure against visiting Floyd Central. It finally started paying off midway through the third period as the Lady Devils turned a 32-22 deficit into a 56-45 victory over the Lady Highlanders.
Haley Vogen led Jeffersonville with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Nycia Ford added 12 points, eight rebounds, six steals and two assists.
“Before the game we talked about coming out and playing 32 minutes as hard as we could play,” said Jeffersonville head coach Matt Pait. “I thought we played well in spurts in the first half, but in the second half, we played all 16 minutes as hard as we could play and we really got after it.”
The two teams traded baskets throughout the first period, with neither establishing more than a four-point lead. Jeffersonville scored the last four points to take a 12-10 lead after one.
The second quarter started out quite differently. Floyd Central pounded Jeffersonville inside to score the first nine points. Two jumpers by Aurreshae Hines stopped the crucial run, and the Lady Devils trailed by six at halftime, 24-18.
Floyd Central used a 3-pointer by Brooke Hinton, an inside bucket by Tori Kingsley and three free throws to take a commanding 32-22 lead early in the third period. It was still 34-27 when the Lady Highlanders started struggling to get the ball up the floor, much less get any shots off. Jeffersonville scored the last seven points of the quarter for a 34-34 tie after three.
Steal after steal provided layup after layup — and some free throws as well — as Jeffersonville scored 10 of the first 12 points in the final period for a 44-36 lead.
“That’s part of our defense,” Pait said. “We coach ball pressure. I thought our guards did a great job of pressuring their guards tonight and making them handle the ball all the way up the court.”
Three free throws helped Floyd Central cut it to five with 5:11 left in the game, but the Lady Devils scored the next seven points to push the advantage to 12 before the Lady Highlanders could respond.
A technical foul on Floyd Central coach Kirk Hamsley with one minute to go helped Jeff reach a game-high 13-point advantage before two free throws by Abbie Engle accounted for the final margin.
It was a huge victory for Jeffersonville, which reached .500 instead of falling to 4-6.
“We’re not as talented as a lot of teams, so we’re going to have to play harder than the other team and more intensely for 32 minutes,” Pait said. “We’ve really tried to work on that in practice, and I thought we really stepped it up in the second half.”