FLOYDS KNOBS — After battling through a thrilling 32 minutes, the Hoosier Hills Conference basketball game between Floyd Central and visiting Jennings County was deadlocked.
So why not go another four minutes?
Although the home crowd enjoyed the overtime period, the Panthers did not as the Highlanders took a 69-67 victory.
It appeared the two teams were headed for another overtime period as well. Falling behind early in the overtime, Jennings County pulled even when Hunter Euler converted a four-point play and Brad Hunt knocked down a pair of free throws to knot the game at 67-67.
Then, the Panthers failed to stop the Highlanders’ Zane Nichols from slipping inside to hit a game-winning layup with 3.4 seconds left.
Although it seemed that final scoring play for Floyd Central decided the game, Jennings County coach Joe Hartwell was concerned about his team’s play earlier in the contest.
“We turned the ball over too much tonight,” Hartwell said. “And we couldn’t make any big-time scoring runs to build a comfortable double-digit lead throughout the game. In the end, we wasted a lot of offensive possessions.”
Hartwell did credit his leaders for staying tough.
“I thought it was huge to get some big minutes from Jonah (Woods) and Hunter (Euler) tonight. We just lacked some self-confidence at the end of the fourth (quarter) and overtime,” he said.
The Panthers (12-9, 3-4) were playing without starter Adrian Kirchner. They were more shorthanded when Dan Leach picked up two early fouls with just over two minutes into the first quarter. Hunt, who scored 28 points in the game, stepped things up in the first quarter scoring 10 of his team’s 17 first quarter points as Floyd Central had no answer for him in the paint. The Panthers led 17-12 after one quarter.
With the Panthers ahead 22-20 in the middle of the second quarter, they went on a 10-5 run thanks to a couple of baskets by Hunt and Woods, who converted four free throws to help Jennings County go ahead 30-25. Woods played the majority of his minutes in the first half with Leach on the bench. They only led 30-28 when J.C. Kinnaird of Floyd Central hit a layup with less than a minute left. Kinnaird finished with 20 points.
The Panthers jumped out to a 7-2 start, thanks to a couple of Hunt baskets and a Leach 3-point play. From this point on through the rest of the third quarter was when things started to get sloppy for the Panthers.
The Panthers were forced into three turnovers on three straight possessions. Floyd Central took advantage of their miscues, going on a 9-3 run, with Kinnaird scoring seven of those nine points, to make it 42-41. Woods propelled the Panthers by scoring their next five points to help the Panthers build a 47-41 cushion after three quarters.
It just wasn’t enough as Kinnaird led Floyd Central back.
“We talked about finding ways to stop Kinnaird all week,” Hartwell said. “He is very quick, a great shooter, and we just do a great job of tightening our defense on him.”
Leach added 12 points. Euler finished with nine points.