News and Tribune

Floyd County Sports

February 26, 2014

TEN TO WATCH: Highlanders believe they’re contenders

Floyd confident despite 4-17 mark

FLOYDS KNOBS —  It hasn’t always been an easy year for Floyd Central under first-year coach Mark Lieberman — especially in the win column.

The Highlanders upset Jennings County 69-67 in overtime on Tuesday for their fourth win in 21 games. The victory was the first in February for Floyd, but it hasn’t seemed to discourage the team.

“We’re getting there, we’re getting better,” sophomore Connor Sturgeon said, “so we’re getting there. We’re just keeping our heads up and keep going to work.”

Despite the win-loss record, the Highlanders have proven at times that they can compete with good teams. First was a 49-45 loss to Hoosier Hills Conference champion New Albany in Floyd’s second game of the season. Then there was a 64-61 win over Portage in Richmond on Jan. 2. On Jan. 17, the Highlanders beat two-time defending Seymour Sectional champion Jeffersonville 71-70.

Tuesday’s win came against a Jennings County team that had knocked off Jeff and New Albany and had won four of its last five games in the past two weeks to introduce itself as a sectional contender.

When talking with the Highlander players, you’d never guess that they are 4-17 and are part of a program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2011 and hasn’t won a sectional since their Final Four team in 1989. In fact, they believe they can end that draught next week.

“I don’t think our record shows who we really are,” said Zane Nichols, the only Highlander senior. “I think we can compete with anybody in the conference and in the sectional. I think we can beat anybody in it.”

“We’ve proven that we can play with these teams and we’ve beaten some good teams,” Sturgeon said, “so obviously, we’re feeling pretty good about it coming in [to the sectional].”

Floyd closes its regular season Friday at Charlestown. The Highlanders will be favored to beat the struggling 4-14 Pirates and enter the sectional on a two-game winning streak.

“We want to win [on Friday],” Sturgeon said, “but wins and losses don’t really matter until the sectional. We want to get into the sectional on a roll.”

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