Jeffersonville survived a game-tying three-point attempt at the buzzer to hold off host Floyd Central 57-54 Friday in Hoosier Hills Conference action. Demar’re Sims led the Red Devils (8-6) with 19 points. The Highlanders, who led at halftime 29-22, fell to 5-5.
“It was obviously a game that we were happy to come out on the top end of,” said Jeffersonville head coach Joe Luce. “I thought our kids played through some adversity within ourselves in the first half. We didn’t communicate. We didn’t believe in each other.”
The first three baskets for Jeffersonville came on three-pointers, as the Red Devils stayed close to the Highlanders, who led 11-10 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter belonged to the home team. The teams traded the lead four times before the Highlanders finished the half with a 6-0 run to go into the locker room up seven points.
A few minutes into the third period, the Red Devils were still behind by seven at 35-28. That’s when they asserted themselves with an 8-0 run that gave them the lead. They finished the third period tied at 38.
“We came out with a nice adjustment,” said Luce. “Not so much a coaching adjustment but a player adjustment. (Dechaun) Lewis came in with some confidence off the bench and then (Gerrin) Moore came in and made some plays, and that got us going in the third quarter.”
Sims scored seven in the third, then Moore opened the fourth with a three and an inside basket to put the visitors in front 43-38. The Red Devils improved their advantage to 51-44, but the Highlanders weren’t about to go down without a fight.
Six straight points cut the lead to 51-50 with 1:47 remaining. Sims hit two free throws, then Cobie Barnes made one to make it 53-51 with 55.6 seconds left. Moore scored on a putback for Jeff, then Connor Sturgeon hit another free throw to cut it to 55-52 with 33 seconds remaining.
Floyd Central opted to go for a game-tying shot and milked the clock down to five seconds. Tyler Kimm’s three missed, but he drew a foul on the shot. Kimm missed the first, then made the next two to cut the deficit to one.
Floyd Central fouled Tommy Luce on the inbounds, and the coach’s son calmly made both free throws to make it 57-54 with 3.9 seconds remaining.
The Highlanders got an open look, but Luke Gohmann’s three-point attempt from the corner rattled out and the visitors celebrated the victory.
“We had some huge turnovers at the end with Demar’re and Tommy, but both of them came back and made free throws,” said Luce. “We’re still trying to gain confidence to make sure we never forget to put the last possession behind us and concentrate on the next one, and continue to believe in our teammates and each other.”
Moore added 13 points in the winning cause, while Coleman added 11. The Red Devils made five three-pointers.
The Highlanders had five players score at least nine points and no one scored more than 12.
Jeffersonville (8-6): Demar’re Sims 19, Gerrin Moore 13, Brandon Coleman 11, Tommy Luce 8, Bailey Falkenstein 4, Dechaun Lewis 2.
Floyd Central (5-5): Tyler Kimm 12, Garrett Mehling 11, Cobie Barnes 10, Connor Sturgeon 10, Luke Gohmann 9, Matthew Weimer 2.
3-point goals: Jeffersonville 5 (Luce 2, Coleman 1, Sims 1, Moore 1); Floyd Central 1 (Mehling)