By KEVIN HARRIS
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
Each season, the Floyd Central boys’ golf team has its sights set on one particular time of the year — the postseason.
And there is one tournament that the Highlanders focus on in order to build some momentum heading into the state tournament.
That event is the Hoosier Hills Conference Tournament, which will take place on Saturday at Shadowood Golf Course in Seymour. Seventh-ranked Floyd Central is the defending HHC champions.
“Anytime you get a win, especially in the conference meet, it should help with your confidence [entering the postseason],” Highlanders’ coach Mike Cason said. “We’ve played a lot better the last couple of weeks, so I think we have a good chance to win.”
Cason likes the way his team has been playing as of late. Last weekend, Floyd Central finished second in the Sollman Invitational at The Trophy Club in Lebanon. The Highlanders were one of eight teams currently ranked in the Indiana High School Golf Coaches Association poll to compete in the tourney.
Floyd Central shot a team score of 303, five shots behind invitational winner and top-ranked Columbus North (298).
Four Highlanders shot scores in the 70s. Junior Jack Sparrow led Floyd Central with a 73, followed by senior Alex Beyer with a 75. Seniors Devin Jenkins and Daniel Shepard fired a 77 and 78, respectively.
“We’re playing a lot better than at the beginning of the season,” Cason said. “We have three seniors who are our top three players right now. I think we’re on a pretty good roll.”
The Highlanders played in a triangular meet at Shadowood on May 7 against Jennings County and Seymour. Floyd Central won the meet with a team score of 152. Jenkins earned medalist honors with a 35, while Beyer, Shepard and junior Connor Welch each shot a 39.
Cason enjoys seeing his team play at the par-72, 6,709-yard course.
“It’s in real nice shape,” Cason said. “It’s a nice course and a thinking man’s course. I think we’ll do fine.”
Cason expects Madison to provide the Highlanders the toughest competition on Saturday. The Cubs nipped Floyd Central by one stroke to win the season-opening Fuzzy Zoeller Invitational on March 30 at Covered Bridge Golf Club.
“Madison is the only team I’ve seen this year that can match us,” Cason said.
New Albany and Jeffersonville also will be competing in the HHC Tournament on Saturday.
The Bulldogs finished second in the Southern Indiana Open at Hidden Creek Golf Club in Sellersburg last Saturday, firing a 334. Garrett Arnold paced New Albany with a 78, while teammate Kunal Khanushali had an 84.
The Red Devils were third in the Southern Indiana Open with a 338. Senior Jordan Lacy and junior Dillon Willis each led Jeff with an 81.
MID-SOUTHERN CONFERENCE MEET
Four area teams — Charlestown, Clarksville, Eastern and Silver Creek — will be playing in the MSC meet on Saturday at Wooded View Golf Course in Clarksville.
One player who is expected to play well is the Generals’ Nick Cappola. The senior, who has signed a national letter of intent to play at Morehead State next season, finished in a five-way tie for fifth in the Southern Indiana Open with an 81.
Even though Cappola will be playing on his home course, his father and Clarksville coach Mark Cappola says that is no guarantee his son will fire a low score on Saturday.
“Nick should play well. But in golf, home course advantage is not always in your favor,” said Mark Cappola, who is the head golf pro at Wooded View.
Charlestown hosted the Southern Indiana Open, as it finished 12th with a 395. Pirates’ coach Adam Tolliver is expecting his players to continue to show improvement on Saturday.
“I am looking for our guys to come out and to just improve over their previous scores,” Tolliver said. “Right now, our guys are still pretty inconsistent within their rounds, so I want to see them be a little more consistent. They are letting a bad hole impact other holes. Despite some inconsistencies, we are getting better.”
Silver Creek is looking to bounce back in the MSC Tournament after placing 14th at the Southern Indiana Open last week. The Dragons fired a team score of 433.
“I’m expecting them to perform much better than we did in the SIO,” Silver Creek coach Joe Ledbetter said. “If we can finish in the top five, I believe we can prove to ourselves that we are improving. Some of our players’ scores are trending down, which is what you like to see as the big events are getting closer. A couple of our players we have to have playing very steady for us to finish in the top half. Sometimes it’s a crap shoot with golfers.”
Tolliver, Ledbetter and Mark Cappola each expect Corydon Central to be the team to beat in the MSC. The Panthers finished third at the Providence Sectional last year, advancing to the regional.
“The favorites have to be Corydon, then Scottsburg and North Harrison,” Ledbetter said. “After that, we’ll see who handles the course and the pressure the best.”
SOUTHERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE MEET
Henryville will try to win its second consecutive SAC championship and its eighth conference crown in nine seasons on Saturday at Champions Pointe Golf Club in Memphis.
“I think we have a good chance, but it’ll take a good round,” said Hornets’ coach Robin Embry, whose team ended up fifth in the Southern Indiana Open with a 366. “I have a lot of confidence in our players. However, it’s only one day — you have to play well that day.
“We’ve been improving throughout the season. We’re still a bit inconsistent, but we’re working on it.”
Champions Pointe is Henryville’s home course. But Embry thinks playing at home will only give his players a small edge.
“I think it’s a slight advantage for any team playing on their home course,” Embry said. “However, I think all the teams have played it this season, so there will be no surprises for anyone.”
Embry expects this year’s SAC meet to be very competitive. One team that has a chance to be in the SAC title mix is Borden, which ended up eighth at the Southern Indiana Open.
“It should be close. Five of the six schools are capable of winning,” Embry said. “It comes down to your performance on that day.”
New Washington also is scheduled to play in the SAC meet on Saturday.