Photo by Brock Kennedy
Story By J.D. McKay
We are now into the most anticipated and exciting part of the year in Indiana. And the excitement has already started. New Albany actually had to play on Tuesday in sectionals, and they were upset by Jennings County. New Albany had just over a 20 percent chance to win sectionals while Jennings was sitting at about one percent,
according to https://indianahsbasketball.homestead.com/boys.html. Plus, Seymour just played Jeff close, so the weekend is looking very exciting.
But the Highlanders have a tough task ahead of them in the Red Devils. Jeff is coming off a sectional title and seven straight wins up to this game. They also beat us earlier this
year at FC on a buzzer beater by senior Jacob Jones. So, here are my keys to reverse what happened earlier this year.
Junior Jake Heidbreder will need to score consistently. Last year, New Albany essentially shut him down in the sectionals loss, and that was definitely a big factor. He is our best scorer so if Jeff shuts him down we will not score a lot of points. But, Silver Creek, who has 3 D-1 players, could not stop Heidbreder so it will be tough for Jeff to do it.
This needs to be a low scoring game. I said earlier this year at the Jeff game that the first team to 40 would win. Jeff was the first to 40. I think this game will be the same way. But
Jeff proved Tuesday that low scoring games are not what they are best at. They beat Seymour 36-29. Seymour plays a very slow game, slower than even FC, and Jeff struggled with it. So I think with better players and a similar play style, it will be a low scoring game.
Finally, we need to limit turnovers. One huge problem in the game earlier this year was
turnovers. We made 11 compared to Jeff’s 6. Senior Seth Burks made several that game, but since then, he has vastly improved. Early in the season, the very athletic Burks seemed to rely on his athletism to try to make plays, but they often resulted in turnovers. He is making far fewer turnovers each game than he did early this year, and looking to make the smarter play instead of the tougher and more athletic play.
Bottom Line: Jeff is very good and very athletic. But earlier this year, they had three D-1 players on their team. Now, with sophomore Will Lovings-Watts leaving, they have two. That should make guarding Jones and senior Tre Coleman a little easier. Floyd has also improved a lot since then including a solid win over Bloomington North on Feb. 22. Even with Jeff’s talent, I think Floyd’s defense will keep it low scoring in a Highlander win. Final Score: Highlander 42- Jeff 39