Very few basketball teams can spot an opponent the first 18 points — on the road — and survive. Charlestown is not one of those teams.
Floyd Central blasted the Pirates with a devastating opening run and rode that burst to a 60-39 victory on Tuesday night. Explosive scoring guards J.C. Kinnaird and Myles Ervin combined for 39 points as the Highlanders (5-2) won their third straight game.
If the Pirates had a fuse, it failed to light. They were blanked until Eli Daniel popped a 15-footer at the 1:33 mark of the first quarter. That came way too late.
“You can’t do that,” Charlestown coach Jason Connell said. “You can’t get down 18-0 against anybody, this day and age.”
Kinnaird and Ervin did all the early damage. Kinnaird scored the first 8 points in rapid-fire succession, burying a pair of 3-pointers while the Pirates focused on Ervin. After the Pirates switched defenses, Ervin switched to his scoring mode and hit three straight jumpers.
That lead was enough. Charlestown (4-5) clawed back within 14 in the third quarter (at 33-19) but never really threatened to make the Highlanders squirm.
“Most nights that will be enough, if you don’t lose your mind,” Floyd Central coach Todd Sturgeon said.
Most nights, the production from Charlestown’s Jamal Long would be enough. The 6-foot-4 junior had 27 points and 14 rebounds off the bench — and all the points came in the second half. The problem was he acted alone. He hit 10 of 19 shots, the rest of the Pirates combined to go 3 for 35.
“We just drew up something at halftime,” Connell said. “We planted him down there and decided to see what we could get out of him. That’s great but it’s hard to beat teams by yourself. He played a great game. He played a whale of a game.
“But they didn’t quit, and that’s what I’m proud of. They battled. For three quarters we played right with them. We’re just not putting four quarters together.”
Charlestown’s shooting woes were glaring. The Pirates went 3 for 26 in the first half as the Highlanders cruised to a 26-8 lead. Charlestown’s starting lineup combined for 7 points and the guards were a combined 0 for 13 from the field. The Pirates also had only three assists against 14 turnovers.
That could be partially attributed to the chaos caused by the Kinnaird-Myles combination. Their quickness forced the Pirates to play at an uncomfortable pace. Their scoring — Kinniard finished with 23 while Ervin added 16 — kept the Pirates from rallying too close.
“Making shots is a great cure-all in basketball,” Sturgeon said. “Those two guards of ours are explosive offensively. They can score points in bunches.”
Floyd Central’s modest win streak is its longest since the 2010-11 season.
“I think we’re making some progress,” Sturgeon said. “We’re seeing glimpses. We have a chance to be a good team. We’re not yet. We’ve been good in some small doses.”
Follow Justin Sokeland on Twitter at @golfguru55.
Charlestown (4-5) – Eli Daniel 2, Tristan Chester 3, Gage Martin 2, Jamal Long 27, Lex Smith 5.
Floyd Central (5-2) – Colton Kimm 2, Connor Sturgeon 6, Myles Ervin 16, J.C. Kinnaird 23, Garrett Mehling 2, Tyler Kimm 2, Trevor Apple 2, Luke Gohmann 1, Jake Canter 6.
3-point goals – Chester 1, Ervin 3, Kinnaird 4.