by Ty Elliott
Friday night the 2-0 Highlanders boys’ basketball team will take on the 0-1 New Albany Bulldogs at FC in a rivalry of Floyd County schools. While the game will be between two fierce rivals and Hoosier Hills Conference foes, a special tribute will be made to former FC basketball coach Joe Hinton.
Hinton, who was coach for the boys’ program from its inception in 1967 until 1998, will have the floor named after him. For the Highlanders to beat the Bulldogs, who have dominated the series in the last few seasons, head coach Randy Gianfagna said his team must be ready to handle full court pressure.
“New Albany will press us and they will try to take us off the dribble,” said Gianfagna.
Both teams have new additions or upperclassmen stepping into new roles. New Albany received two talented transfers, AJ and Blake Schmidt, who previously attended Providence High School. AJ is a sharp shooting guard who can score at will and is capable of taking defenders off the bounce, while twin brother Blake is solid player in his own right. While AJ, who is receiving interest from Division One schools, gets all the attention, it is his brother Blake who always seems to make a key play in the game.
For the Highlanders, senior Nick Bombersbach has become a key part to their offensive attack. Bombersbach, who played sparingly last season, had a career high 26 points while hitting six three pointers in their win against Silver Creek. The Highlanders victory over Silver Creek gave FC their first 2-0 start since 1998.
The Highlanders’ next game after Friday night’s clash with the Bulldogs will be Friday, Dec. 16 against the Columbus East Olympians.