The two first-round games of the Class 4A Seymour Sectional on Tuesday night at Scott Gym were expected to be blowouts.
They lived up to their billing.
In the opener, Jeffersonville ended Floyd Central’s season in dominating fashion with an 87-60 victory. In the nightcap, New Albany got off to a great start and took down the host Owls, 85-30.
The sectional semifinals will take place on Friday at Scott Gym. The Red Devils (20-3) will face Bedford North Lawrence (8-12) in the first semi at 6 p.m., followed by the Bulldogs (14-7) taking on Jennings County (13-9) at about 7:30 p.m.
Junior Keenan Williams had another big scoring night for the Red Devils. For the second game in a row, Williams scored 28 points, which matched his career-high.
Williams shot 10-of-11 from the floor, including making his only 3-pointer, and converting 7-of-8 free throws. He also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
“We want to get up and down the court and get easy baskets, and Keenan continues to do that,” Jeff coach Chad Gilbert said.
Senior Darryl Baker — the Red Devils’ leading scorer — had another productive contest with 23 points. Baker knocked down 9-of-13 field goals and all five of his free throws. Baker tallied 18 of his 23 points in the first half.
Despite Baker’s 20-plus points, Floyd Central coach Randy Gianfagna complimented the Jeff standout’s unselfishness.
“Probably the best thing about Darryl is how unselfish he is,” Gianfagna said. “He is not one to jack [a shot] every time.”
Jeff’s Drew Ellis joined Williams and Baker in the double-figure group with 12 points. He also had six rebounds and three steals.
“They’re really good,” Gianfagna said. “At every position, they’re probably a little quicker than us. All it takes is one guy to get beat off the dribble and somebody is open.”
Gilbert expects a competitive battle with Bedford on Friday night.
“Bedford will be ready for our full-court press, and we’ll have to make some adjustments on that,” he said. “We’ll have to make sure we rebound the basketball and take one possession at a time. We’re going to play every game like we played the first 23. We want to play as fast as we can. If we can get up and down and do things, I think we’ll be in good shape.”
Two Highlanders (6-17) registered double digits. Sophomore Jackson Logsdon paced Floyd Central with 12 points, while Codie Hamsley chipped in 10. Teammates Drew Hussung and Aiden Cora had nine and eight points, respectively. The Highlanders’ Colton Kimm pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
Hussung and Hamsley are Floyd Central’s lone two seniors.
The Bulldogs wasted no time making their opening-round game a lopsided affair, and they have sophomore guard Jeff Byrne to thank for that.
Byrne nailed his first three field goals of the game, all 3-pointers, in the first minute and 18 seconds of the game. Byrne’s shooting helped New Albany score the first 14 points of the game and pull out to a 23-1 lead in the final seconds of the opening quarter.
“Jeff Byrne was lighting it up,” Bulldogs’ coach Jim Shannon said. “Our defensive intensity and our full-court press were good. We just felt like we had to set the tempo.”
New Albany’s 85 points were their third-highest scoring output of the season. All 12 Bulldogs scored at least two points.
Byrne ended up with a game-high 14 points, while teammate Garrett Arnold had 12. Leondre McBirth was New Albany’s third double-figure scorer with 10. Bulldog guards Chad Hudson and Jermaine Parrish each scored nine.
“I thought all 12 guys played hard,” Shannon said. “We made a few mistakes, but not very many. This doesn’t mean that we are ready for Friday, but it’s a step in the right direction. If they don’t get too full of themselves, we’ll be ready Friday.”
New Albany defeated Jennings County more than a week ago at The Doghouse, 43-35. Shannon believes the key for the Bulldogs in the rematch will be handling the Panther guards.
“We’ll have to handle their size, of course. We knew that the first time that we played them,” Shannon said. “If we can contain their guards and not allow them to make 3’s, then that will be in our favor.
Zach Schlatterer led the Owls (2-19) with six points.
Note: The New Albany High School athletic department will have a sectional ticket draw at 6:30 tonight at the school. The doors will open at 6.
Tickets are $10 and will be good for the final two nights of the sectional.