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December 4, 2013

BOYS' BASKETBALL: Clarksville beats Floyd 67-57 after slow start

Generals force 25 Highlander turnovers in victory

CLARKSVILLE —  For the second game in a row, Clarksville started slow.

Like it did in their season-opening victory over Rock Creek, the Class 2A No. 10 Generals came back with a strong second quarter and wore down Floyd Central to improve to 2-0 with a 67-57 victory.

The Generals shot just 4-for-12 from the floor in the first quarter, including 0-for-5 from star senior Andrew Jones, and fell behind 15-11. Clarksville got behind Rock Creek 25-13 before storming back for a 68-59 win.

“It’s a new team in a lot of ways,” Clarksville assistant coach Brian McEwen explained. “We have a lot of new pieces, but there’s no excuse for coming out and not being ready.”

On the other hand, Floyd went 5-for-10 from the floor in the opening quarter, the first under new coach Mark Lieberman and an almost brand new varsity team.

“That’s good, but you have to sustain it,” Lieberman said. “We had major slippage. Young guys came in and turned the ball over. You just can’t have that.”

In fact, Clarksville turned up the heat and turned the Highlanders over 10 times in the second quarter. After Floyd Central junior Myles Ervin — a transfer from Indianapolis Cathedral — had five points in the first quarter, the Generals’ Marquise Parrish held him scoreless in the second.

On the other hand, Parrish got several good looks at the basket after Highlander turnovers and scored eight second-quarter points as the Generals outscored Floyd 25-10 and took a 48-39 halftime lead.

“That’s something we have to work on,” Lieberman said. “Guys are just too timid out there, not really understanding [how to] play under the bright lights and how to play hard. It’s early.”

Clarksville guard Calvin McEwen had four of his game-high five assists in the second quarter. Despite being the team’s leading returning scorer, McEwen took just seven shots on the night. Instead, he spent the evening looking for open teammates.

“That’s nothing new,” Coach McEwen said of his son. “That’s what Calvin does. He makes good decisions.”

Floyd Central outscored the Generals 14-12 in the third quarter behind eight points from Zane Nichols, who had a pair of three-point plays in the period. However, the Highlanders got no closer than eight points at 61-53 on a Brandon Smith turnaround jumper with 2:15 remaining.

Ervin led the Highlanders with 21 points and Smith added eight points and seven rebounds.

In a lot of ways, Floyd Central outplayed Clarksville. It shot a respectable 18-of-38 from the floor, made 17 of its 20 free-throw attempts and half of its 3-point attempts. It also outrebounded the Generals, 27-21.

However, the Highlanders couldn’t overcome 25 turnovers and being outscored 25-17 at the foul line.

Lieberman said he’s sure he’ll take some positives out of the team’s first loss, but nothing jumped out at him.

“I have to watch the film. It’s hard for me to comment really until I’ve seen the film,” Lieberman said.

Meanwhile, Clarksville stayed unbeaten and has won 35 of its last 42 regular-season games since the start of the  2010-11 season.

“The kids have done a nice job,” Coach McEwen said. “It’s like Christmas morning. You wake up and you don’t know what you’ll get.”

Clarksville — one of the preseason Mid-Southern Conference favorites — will host 2-0 Silver Creek in a big MSC showdown on Friday. Floyd Central will go to Sellersburg to face the Dragons on Saturday.

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