By CHRIS STONER
FLOYDS KNOBS —
Floyd Central was its own worst enemy Tuesday night on Joe Hinton Court.
The Highlanders missed 16 free throws (19-of-35) and fell 79-65 to Columbus East on Senior Night.
The Olympians placed five players in double figures en route to defeating their Hoosier Hills Conference rival for the fourth straight year.
“We lost the game at the free throw line,” Highlanders head coach Kirk Hamsley said. “Nineteen of 35 doesn’t get it done. [Columbus East] played well. I thought we played well overall. We played great in the first half and then in the second half we didn’t play as intense. Those free throws in the second half hurt us.”
Over the final two periods, Floyd Central (10-10, 1-6 HHC) shot just 25 percent from the floor (8-of-31) and hit only 12-of-24 free throws.
“We forced some shots late but before that we missed some easy shots that we should have made,” Hamsley said. “I thought we played hard, but we didn’t get it done offensively or at the free throw line. They’re a good team. We just have to keep our focus at the free throw line.”
The first quarter was dominated by offense. East (10-9, 4-3) nailed three triples, Floyd sank eight field goals, and when the dust settled, the hosts led 22-17 heading to the second frame.
The Olympians dropped in three more bombs in the second stanza that eventually pulled them within one at intermission, 37-36. The Highlanders connected on 14-of-28 shots and won the boards 19-13 in the first half.
“At halftime, I thought we had done a nice job defensively on them,” Hamsley said. “They can score. We talked about being physical with them, pushing the ball, and getting some easy buckets.”
The Olympians bolted out of the locker room with a 12-3 run to start the third quarter and led 48-40 at the 4:58 mark. The hosts responded with an 8-0 spurt capped by a Tori Kingsley put-back to tie the game at 48-48 with 2:38 left in the third. However, East had the final flurry of points and finished the third with a 12-1 blast and led 60-48 after three quarters.
“They scored those first few buckets and we didn’t adjust and then we didn’t answer their run at the end of the third,” Hamsley said. We got behind a bit and panicked. We can’t do that.”
Floyd was able to scratch within 66-58 on a Brooke Hinton basket with 3:41 remaining, but that would be as close as the home team got.
Madison Kaiser led all scorers with 20 points and Hinton finished with 18.
“That’s how she has to play,” Hamsley said of Kaiser. “That’s who she is. She’s a slasher and attacker. She had 20 tonight and did a nice job. Brooke did a good job to get her 18. She was in and out of foul trouble all night.”
Floyd finishes ends their regular season Thursday at Silver Creek (14-6).