By CHRIS STONER
FLOYDS KNOBS —
Floyd Central’s girls’ basketball team went 2-for-2 in the opening day of their own Floyd Central Shootout on Thursday.
The hosts enjoyed two blowout victories: 78-43 over Louisville Waggener in the morning and 73-14 over Crawford County in the nightcap.
The Highlanders will play for the tournament championship tonight at 7:30 against Louisville Ballard, which defeated Austin 43-36 and Eastern 52-26 on Thursday.
The Highlanders showed no ill effects of their nine-day layoff and bolted to a 43-14 hafltime lead over Waggener. Madison Kasier led all scorers with 18 as Floyd posted four players in double-figures and dismantled its Louisville foe by 35 on Joe Hinton Court.
In the final game of the day Floyd (8-3) forced 30 turnovers and held Crawford County (0-10) to 3-of-35 (8 percent) field goal shooting in defeating the Wolfpack for the second straight season. Kaiser again was the game’s leading scorer — this time with 17 — as the Highlanders won for the sixth time in their last seven games.
“Our defensive intensity got better as the game went on tonight but we’re still at about a five on a scale of 1-to-10 of where we need to be at that end of the floor to compete in our conference and sectional,” Floyd coach Kirk Hamsley said.
Things were sloppy at both ends early in the championship game as the Highlanders held a slim 7-5 lead at 4:08 in the first period. There were 11 combined turnovers in the first four minutes, prompting a Floyd timeout.
“I just didn’t feel like we were playing as hard as we could have early and we needed better focus,” Hamsley said. “I don’t know if our kids were looking at their record or what, but we needed to play harder than we were. I felt like after [the timeout] that we had more defensive intensity and made better decisions with the ball.”
The Highlanders went on to finish the first quarter on a 12-4 run as Kaiser poured in eight points in the game’s opening eight minutes. The tournament host seized control of the game in the second frame by outscoring the Wolfpack 18-3 and led by 25 at intermission. Tori Kingsley scored seven of her 15 in the second stanza.
“Madison is playing well offensively right now,” Hamsley said of his sophomore power forward, who scored 35 points on the day. “She had a nice day scoring. She still needs to slow down a bit when it comes to her passing. She just gets in a hurry sometimes, but she’s scoring real well for us right now.”
Floyd showed no signs of a let down in the second half as it outscored Crawford 36-2 over the last 16 minutes. Kaiser and Kingsley combined for 12 in the third as the Highlanders led by 35 entering the final quarter.
“We wanted to get our post players to run the floor better,” Hamsley said of the third quarter. “We feel like if they do, they can score for us in transition.”
Crawford, who remains winless on the season, did not make a second half field goal (0-of-19). Floyd cleaned the glass to a 42-22 tune and shot 61 percent overall.