Highlanders hold off fifth-ranked Panthers

Highlanders hold off fifth-ranked Panthers


Highlanders hold off fifth-ranked Panthers


J.C. Kinnaird scored 20 points and hit 6 of 8 free-throw attempts in the final two minutes of the game to help visiting Floyd Central to a 51-41 win over highly regarded Corydon in a boys’ high school basketball game Friday night.

“He made some big plays for us,” Floyd Central coach Todd Sturgeon said of Kinnaird.

Corydon (7-3) came into the game ranked No. 5 in Class 3-A, but the Panthers trailed for much of the night, going cold early and never quite warming up.

A fairly crisp opening two minutes of the game had Corydon leading 7-4 after a put-back by Dillion Simler with 5:55 left in the first quarter. After that, it was all Floyd Central as the Panthers went scoreless for the rest of the period.

A steal by Kinnaird set up a 3-pointer by Myles Ervin that put Floyd Central on top 9-7 with 2:30 left in the first quarter. Ervin added a basket moments later to make the lead four and the Highlanders were off to the races.

“J.C. and Myles are explosive offensive players, and they have some quickness,” Sturgeon said.

The Highlanders led by seven as time ran out in the quarter and a driving layup by Ervin with four seconds left put Floyd Central on top 16-7 at the period’s end.

The second quarter started much like the first ended — a put-back by Floyd Central’s Clayton Crum made it 18-7 and capped a 14-0 run.

Corydon finally ended its scoring drought when Simler hit two free throws at the 6:18 mark. The Panthers had gone almost a full quarter — 7:37 — without scoring, but were still within striking distance.

Over the next two minutes, Corydon’s Bronson Kessinger scored six points as part of an 8-2 run by the Panthers. Kessinger’s free throw with 4:18 left in the first half made it 20-15.

Both teams cooled off after that, with Kinnaird’s 3-pointer the only points scored as the Highlanders led 23-15 at the break.

Floyd Central started to exert its quickness in the third quarter, and the Panthers couldn’t keep up. Leading 27-19, the Highlanders notched a three-point play by Ervin on a drive to the basket, then Kinnaird scored twice on drives to help Floyd Central to a 35-19 lead with 1:25 left in the third quarter. That was the score going into the fourth quarter as Corydon was held to four points.

“We were playing good defense,” said Sturgeon. “I thought we played really well.”

Floyd Central got the fourth quarter on a high note — a 3-pointer by Kinnaird made it 38-19, the biggest lead of the game. But the Panthers weren’t finished, trimming the lead to eight (43-35) on a three-pointer by Ryan Crawford with 1:30 left in the game.

But Kinnaird would answer at the line as the Highlanders stretched it to a 49-37 lead with 36 seconds remaining.

“I was happy with our kids,” said Sturgeon, whose team played with a lead for much of the game. “If you don’t continue to score, it’s not enough.”

For the game, Ervin scored 12 points for the Highlanders (6-2). Corydon was paced by Kessinger’s 14 points, Timothy Wiseman added 12 in the losing effort.


Floyd Central 16 7 12 16 51
Corydon 7 8 4 22 41

Floyd Central (6-2) – Kinnaird 20, Kimm 2, Sturgeon 7, Ervin 12, Lewis 1, Hudson 4, Crum 3, Mehling 2.

Corydon (7-3) – Wiseman 12, Simler 4, Kessinger 14, Crawford 8, Frederick 3.

3-point goals – Wiseman 2, Crawford 2, Ervin 1, Kinnaird 2.


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