By JON REITER
FLOYDS KNOBS —
The Clarksville Generals boys’ basketball team withstood a furious closing rally by host Floyd Central to hang on and grab their second win of the season, a 43-41 victory over the Highlanders last night.
With 2:10 remaining, forward Austin Johnson scored an inside bucket for Clarksville to give the Generals a 40-29 lead. But Floyd Central coach Randy Gianfagna amped up the pressure on the Generals, and a buzzer-beating three-pointer from guard Allen Truong narrowed the margin to 2, which was the closest the game had been since the closing moments of the first half.
“When you get up 7-8 points with a few minutes left, you don’t need to be bombing 3-pointers with a hand in your face,” Clarksville coach Jason Connell said. “But we made the plays we had to get the win. When I got here, with the young kids, we might have lost this game. We’ve got an experienced team now, and we’ll learn from that.”
The contest was low scoring throughout. Junior guard Calvin McEwen nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Generals an 8-2 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter, but inside baskets by 6-foot-7 center Codie Hamsley and Truong for Floyd Central made it 8-6 with less than two minutes left in the first frame.
Guard Andrew Jones’ drive to the basket and lay-in gave Clarksville a 10-6 lead with 1:45 remaining, and neither squad was able to find the basket before the end of the first quarter.
The Generals were unable to muster much offense through the second quarter, and Drew Hussung’s short jumper with 34.5 seconds left in the first half narrowed the margin to 16-15 heading into intermission.
The Highlanders began looking inside to Hamsley early in the second half. Feeds inside from Hussong and Truong were converted in the post by Hamsley early in the third quarter, with the center giving the Highlanders a 21-19 lead with 4:30 remaining. But a 10-1 run by the Generals that was capped by a steal and layup from senior forward Aidan McEwen gave Clarksville a 31-20 lead with a minute remaining, and the visitors looked poised to blow the game open.
Hamsley was held scoreless for the remainder of the contest, but the center finished with 11 rebounds to go along with his six points.
“That’s what we were trying to do,” Gianfagna said of going inside to Hamsley. “You’ve got to try and go with what works. The third quarter killed us. We only gave up 16 points in the first half and then turned around and let them score 18 in the third quarter. We’d have a sequence where we’d miss a layup and turn around and give one up. That hurt us.”
Just minutes into the closing quarter, the Generals went into a stall that was effective for a period of time. After a lengthy possession, Jones was fouled on a baseline drive to the basket, converted two free throws, and Austin Johnson netted his wide-open layup on Clarksville’s next possession.
But two fouls by Clarksville and substitutions, fouls and time-outs by Gianfagna extended the game and Floyd Central was able to whittle the margin away in the closing minutes.
“We were trying to play our size against their guards,” Gianfagna said. “We thought they’d play a little faster and they didn’t. We let them have too many offensive rebounds and almost all of them led to points.”
Jermargio Smith led the Generals with 11 points, and Aidan McEwen added 10. Truong led the Highlanders with 10 points, and Hussung added nine.
“This was the first time we played them in 11 years, and it’s a good win,” Connell said.
Clarksville plays next at Silver Creek on Friday. The Highlanders host the Dragons on Saturday.
CLARKSVILLE 43, FLOYD CENTRAL 41
Clarksville 10 6 18 9—43
Floyd Central 6 9 10 16—41
Clarksville (2-0): Calvin McEwen 7, Andrew Jones 8, Austin Johnson 4, Jermargio Smith 11, Aidan McEwen 10, Aham Yennes 0, D.J. Coleman 3, Bailey McEwen 0, Marquise Parrish 0.
Floyd Central (0-1): Drew Hussung 9, Allen Truong 10, Codie Hamsley 6, Colton Kimm 6, Jackson Logsdon 2, Travis Foster 0, Trevor Smith 8, Austin Newell 0.
3-point field goals: Clarksville 4 (A. McEwen 2, Smith, Coleman); Floyd Central 4 (Hussung, Truong 2, Smith).
Rebounds: Clarksville 20 (A. McEwen 6); Floyd Central 22 (Hamsley 11).
Turnovers: Clarksville 9; Floyd Central 9 .
Free throws: Clarksville 7-10; Floyd Central 7-8 .