FLOYDS KNOBS — Host Floyd Central outscored South Central 16-0 in the second quarter on the way to a 57-21 win in the season-opener for both Wednesday night.
In the opening minutes an active defense helped the Highlanders overcome a slow start on offense.
Trailing 3-2 midway through the first quarter, Floyd forced four turnovers that helped push the Highlanders to a 9-3 lead after a put-back by junior guard Sophie Gasaway at the 1-minute, 25-second mark.
“I would say jitters and the team has to find itself,” second-year Floyd coach Randy Gianfagna explained of his squad's stagnant beginning. “It was a struggle, [but] our defense did lead to our offense.”
A 3-pointer by freshman guard Mandy Hess made it 12-3 inside the final minute before South Central’s Lily Boley answered with her second 3 of the quarter. The Rebels would get no closer.
Floyd Central’s defense continued to generate offense. Two forced turnovers were converted into a 3-pointer and a 2-pointer by Keegan Kaiser to make it 17-6 with 4:35 left in the half. Kaiser followed that up with a steal before assisting a fast-break basket by 5-11 junior forward Grace Suer. Suddenly the Highlanders were rolling.
“Once you make a couple of shots, get a couple of steals, you get a little bounce in your step,” Gianfagna said of his team’s second-quarter surge.
Senior guard Kalissa Fosskuhl stepped up after that. Her fast-break field goal and old-fashioned three-point play made it 24-6.
Floyd Central closed out the half with four consecutive points — a field goal and two free throws — from 5-10 freshman forward Callie Jo Celichowski to take a 28-6 lead into halftime.
There was no slow start in the third quarter for the Highlanders, who quickly squelched any ideas of a comeback by the Rebels.
A pair of fast-break layups by Suer, followed by a 3-pointer from Fosskuhl, made it 35-6 2 minutes into the quarter.
Moments later, Boley hit a free throw to snap a 10-minute, 43-second scoreless drought for South Central.
The Floyd lead eclipsed 30 points when Suer knocked down a 3 to make it 38-7 at the 5:30 mark. It was 41-10 going into the fourth quarter.
Gasaway would add a 3-pointer midway through the fourth to push the lead to 40 (52-12), and the Highlanders' slow start was but a memory.
For the game, Kaiser scored 15 points, Suer 11 and Fosskuhl 10 for the Highlanders, who hit eight 3-pointers.
Boley had four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points to pace the Rebels, who did not make a 2-point field goal the entire game.
Next up, Floyd Central visits Columbus East for a Hoosier Hills Conference matchup at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.