For The Tribune
Floyd Central led 45-34 entering the fourth quarter of Friday night’s Hoosier Hills Conference boys basketball game in the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.
Seymour’s Alan Perry made a 3-point shot, and Toriek Miller made a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer to narrow the difference to six with five minutes remaining.
But that was as close as the Owls could get, and they lost their homecoming battle 58-51.
Owls coach Kyle Clough said his team did not go down without a fight.
“I just told our kids I’m really proud of the way they stuck together,” he said.
“I haven’t felt, in the last three games, that we’ve done a very good job of competing and fighting like we did early in the year. I was proud of that tonight. I really felt like they won the game. I don’t think we lost it. I thought they just played well enough to win it.
“To give ourselves a chance down the stretch and cut it to six is exactly what we wanted them to do. At the end of the day, we just didn’t make enough plays to win.”
The Highlanders were on top 50-42 with 4:39 to go and had several opportunities to extend their lead, and the Owls had several chances during the next three minutes, when neither team scored until J.C. Kinnaird made two free throws with 1:23 remaining.
Seymour’s Isaiah Thomas made two free throws 16 seconds later for a 52-44 score before the visitors extended their lead to 55-44.
After Floyd Central opened the game with an early lead, Ryan Wieneke hit a 3-pointer to draw the Owls even at 8-8 in the middle of the first quarter. The Highlanders moved on top 18-14 at the end of the quarter to lead the rest of the way.
Floyd Central made three 3-pointers in the second quarter and led 29-22 at halftime, and they finished with five 3s for the game.
“It’s the first time all year we’ve played any kind of zone,” Clough said. “We were really worried about their guards’ ability to get into the paint. I thought we did a nice job of controlling that. I thought they went into their bigs a little bit early, which did cause us some trouble, but I thought we were OK with that over the course of four quarters.
“Give (Myles) Ervin a lot of credit. He hit some pretty deep 3s out there, and when he hits those kind of shots, he forces you to extend the defense, and that’s when they are at their best.”
Ervin topped the Highlanders (10-3, 3-2 HHC) with 19 points, and Connor Sturgeon added 17.
Miller topped the Owls with 26 points, including 9 for 11 at the free-throw line.
The Owls shot 14 for 40 from the floor, while the Highlanders were 20 for 41.
“I thought our kids played very hard. We competed,” Clough said. “I still think we’ve got a long way to go offensively without question, and defensively, I thought we did enough to give ourselves a chance. If we get a shot at them in the sectional, we’ll probably do some things differently and hope that gives us a better chance to win.”
Seymour fell to 0-6 in the HHC and 5-11 overall.
“Tonight, I thought we got better and pushed each other through some tough situations, tough moments, and hopefully, that is something we can build on,” Clough said.