By JON REITER
FLOYDS KNOBS —
The host Floyd Central Highlanders outlasted visiting Charlestown 81-79 in double overtime to win on Senior Night in a thrilling regular-season finale on Friday at Highlander Gymnasium.
So, it was fitting that the Highlanders’ two seniors — 6-foot-8 center Codie Hamsley and combo guard Drew Hussung — spurred their squad onto victory. Hamsley’s layup off a Hussung pass tied the game at 72 with less than four seconds remaining in the first overtime, and Hamsley followed a Hussung miss with 12 seconds left in the second overtime to give the hosts the final margin of victory.
Of course, Hussung rarely missed himself — he was 5-of-8 from the field, and even more importantly, 12-of-14 from the free-throw line. He matched Hamsley’s 24 points as they both went out victorious on their final game on their home floor.
“That’s the way you’re supposed to play on Senior Night,” Floyd Central coach Randy Gianfagna said. “They were huge.”
The hosts shot out to a 16-8 lead after guard Jackson Logsdon nailed a 12-footer with 1:55 remaining in the first quarter. But the Pirates (11-9) roared back, going on a 10-0 run over the ensuing 3 minutes and 16 seconds to take an 18-16 lead early in the second quarter.
During the run, Charlestown guard Chris Braun scored six of his 12 first-half points. The 6-foot-4 guard led Charlestown with 32 points.
“Chris is somebody I hope can really play in college. I think he could really be a steal for someone. He’s just figuring out, I think, just how good he can be at the game of basketball,” Charlestown coach Sean Smith said.
It was 23-18 Charlestown after Drew Reich followed an Aaron Daniel miss with a putback with 5:22 remaining in the first half. The Highlanders (6-16) responded with seven unanswered points to capture a 25-23 advantage when Aiden Cora’s jumper banked off the glass and in with 3:12 remaining.
Cora would give Floyd Central another boost late in the first half. After a long rebound, the guard took the ball the length of the court and scored on a layup, drawing a foul with 56.3 seconds left. He converted the foul shot to give the Highlanders a 31-28 lead.
Two free throws from Hussung made it 33-28 on Floyd Central’s next possession. That was the margin at halftime.
The game seesawed back and forth throughout the third and fourth quarters. After an inside basket from Hamsley tied the score at 62 with 42 seconds left in regulation, Charlestown ran the clock down and took a timeout with seven seconds left. Daniel’s short jumper as time ran out missed, and the game headed to overtime.
A dizzying series of events closed out the first overtime. With Floyd Central leading 70-69, Justin Conrad nailed a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left to give the Pirates a 72-70 lead. After that shot, Hussung went down the court and immediately found Hamsley for the game-tying basket and the game went to double overtime.
With 12 seconds left in the second overtime, Hamsley’s basket gave the Highlanders the lead, but Charlestown had two opportunities to win the contest. Daniel missed a 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds remaining, but on the long rebound the basketball went off a Floyd Central player. Braun attempted Charlestown’s next 3-pointer from about 25 feet, and after the miss, the hosts celebrated the win.
“I wouldn’t change a thing about the two guys who took those shots for us last,” Smith said. “Those guys have been our two best players all year, our leaders and have been real warriors. I’m disappointed with the loss, but the game was in good hands with Chris and Aaron.”
Daniel added 15 points for Charlestown.
Gianfagna acknowledged the importance of the win on Senior Night.
“We’ve been playing well, so a win like this one continues our momentum,” he said. “That only helps us going towards Tuesday night.”
The Pirates will host the Class 3A sectional next week and play Corydon Central on Wednesday night in their opening-round game at 6 p.m.
Floyd Central will face Jeffersonville in the first round of the Class 4A Seymour Sectional on Tuesday night at 6.