Floyd Central got off to a slow start but cruised to a 65-28 season-opening win over Christian Academy nonetheless Monday night behind 20 forced turnovers and a 20-0 first-half run.
The Warriors (0-1) scored the game’s first five points and took a 7-5 advantage on a floater by Noah Williams midway through the first quarter. From that point on, though, it was all Highlanders (1-0). Floyd Central shook off three early turnovers and held CAI scoreless until the halfway mark of the second while turning in a commanding run on offense.
Luke Gohmann and Cobie Barnes led Floyd Central with 13 points apiece on 11-of-17 shooting. Evan Nichols added 12 points on seven shots for the Highlanders, who shot 57 percent from the floor. Trevor Apple, Brendan Hobson and Gabe Shireman each chipped in six points, and Matthew Weimer had four points, a game-high five assists and three steals.
Williams had nine points and three assists for CAI. Bailey Conrad had nine points, too, and Stephen Cook tallied eight. Weimer’s defensive pressure on Williams, who had five of the Warriors’ first seven points, changed the outcome of the game, per Floyd Central coach Todd Sturgeon.
“We were a little slow out of the gate,” Sturgeon said. “Other than that, we were great. … That’s what first games are all about. Matthew Weimer came in, and during a dead ball there, he said, ‘I’m going to take (Noah Williams),’ who can be a handful. He’s got some quickness. He does a pretty good job. He just started denying him, and that started causing them problems. It picked up the energy.”
Gohmann netted the first seven points for the Highlanders, who took a 25-7 lead on a Shireman 3-pointer to cap its 20-0 run in the second quarter. Floyd Central then took a 32-14 advantage into the break. Five Highlanders scored at least four points in the opening half, spearheaded by Gohmann and Barnes. That balance, Sturgeon said, can be both a strength and a weakness for Floyd Central this season.
“I feel like we have six or seven guys that can score the basketball, but then sometimes that means Luke and Cobie don’t get as many touches as you need them to get. … Both of those guys are so unselfish themselves,” Sturgeon said. “You can call a set play for them, and they don’t take the shot because they’re giving the ball up if the situation calls for it. That’s a strength of ours. We have willing passers.”
After committing nine second-quarter turnovers, the Warriors posted seven giveaways in the third and only six points, as the Highlanders extended their lead to 55-20 heading into the fourth. Floyd Central shot 62 percent from the floor through three quarters.
“You don’t cut down nets in November,” CAI coach Steve Kerberg said. “You don’t give out trophies in November. We feel like we’re in the mix to win our sectional. We want to play really good teams to expose our weaknesses. That’s only going to help us. … March is when it matters.”
Floyd Central will be back in action Dec. 3 at 6A No. 6 Bloomington South before its Dec. 9 bout at No. 1 New Albany. The Highlanders’ rival Bulldogs welcome Bloomington South in their season opener Saturday. CAI hosts Clarksville next Tuesday.
Sturgeon said Floyd Central will have a some time to rest before “really getting after it” next week.
“Bloomington South,” Sturgeon said, “we played them last year here, and we played them this summer, also, down in Evansville. Both teams are familiar with each other, and we had good games both times. They’ll be a handful.”
Christian Academy of Indiana: 7 – 7 – 6 – 8 – 28
Floyd Central: 13 – 19 – 21 – 12 – 65
Highlanders (1-0): Barnes 13, Gohmann 13, Nichols 12, Shireman 6, Apple 6, Hobson 6, Weimer 4, Kimm 3, Hibbard 2
Warriors (0-1): Williams 9, Conrad 9, Cook 8, Hinnehan 1, Fitzgibbon 1