By KEVIN HARRIS
There were some positives for the Jeffersonville Red Devils in their 59-39 victory over Floyd Central on Friday night at Johnson Arena.
Jeff reached the 10-win mark and took sole possession of first place in the Hoosier Hills Conference with a 4-0 league record. The Red Devils (10-2) extended their win streak in their series with the Highlanders to 13 straight games. Jeff also defeated Floyd Central for the 28th time in the last 29 meetings.
But those highlights did not matter to Red Devils’ coach Chad Gilbert. The second-year Jeff boss expected more from his players on Friday night, especially since the Devils will travel to Class 2A No. 4 and undefeated Providence tonight at the Larkin Center.
“I’m not happy at 10-2. I expect to be 12-0,” Gilbert said. “[We] want to be that way, but it’s about execution and making every possession count.”
There were a few game statistics that concerned Gilbert afterwards.
The Red Devils’ 59 points were 11.6 below their season average of 70.6. Jeff only scored 21 points in the second half.
The Devils committed 18 turnovers, nine in each half, and they only rebounded the Highlanders by one, 26-25. Floyd Central won the boards in the latter half, 13-8.
Gilbert says his players must rebound better tonight versus the Pioneers (10-0), whose front line consists of 6-foot-4 seniors Ryan Pickerell and George Knott and 6-5 senior Dalton Duley.
“If we rebound like that [tonight], count on a loss - absolutely, positively count on a loss,” Gilbert said. “We’ve got crash the boards every single time with all five players on the court. If we rebound like that, count on not winning the conference and count on not winning a sectional.”
Even though it was not a typical performance by Jeff, Floyd Central (2-10, 0-3 HHC) had a lot to do with that.
Throughout the contest, the Highlanders tried to keep the tempo in their favor by making it a half-court game. Floyd Central worked the ball for several seconds in their half-court offense, and held its own on defense whether it was in man-to-man and zone.
The only problem was the Highlanders once again struggled to get the ball in the basket. Floyd Central scored in the 30s for the second straight game and the sixth time this season, as its losing streak grew to six.
“It was pretty frantic early, but we did a good job in the second half. But we didn‘t score either,” Highlanders’ coach Randy Gianfagna said. “We have to play them in the 60s, but we’ve got to get to the 60s.”
Floyd Central trailed by only five points at 18-13 after Colton Kimm knocked down a 3-pointer with about a minute and a half left in the first quarter. But Jeff ended the stanza with seven unanswered points to go up 25-13.
“I thought we did a good job early,” Gianfagna said. “But we missed a couple of layups and then we turned it over a couple of times for their layups.”
The Red Devils outscored the Highlanders 13-8 in the second quarter to take a 38-21 halftime lead. For the half, Jeff shot 16-of-31 from the field while holding Floyd Central to 9-of-23 shooting.
Still, Gilbert was not satisfied with the opening half.
“We came out and we had too many cute plays. We tried to be cute on stuff,” Gilbert said. “We had too many turnovers that weren’t because of the other team’s pressure. It was because of us trying to hit home runs.”
Jeff missed 12 of its 19 field-goal attempts in the second half, as the Red Devils did not look sharp.
“We were sloppy,” Gilbert said. “Floyd played hard and played physical on us.”
Senior guard Darryl Baker paced the Red Devils with 19 points. Jeff senior forward Devin Shackelford came off the bench to score 10 points, as he drew praise from Gilbert.
“Devin did a heck of a job,” Gilbert said. “Devin came in and did an excellent job.”
The Highlanders had two players score in double figures. Sophomore Jackson Logsdon had 14 points and senior Drew Hussung tallied 10.
Gianfagna says Logsdon, who shot 6-of-13 from the floor, has the potential to be a much-needed consistent scorer for the Highlanders.
“The big thing we talk about with him is shot selection,” Gianfagna said. “When he takes good ones, he’s pretty doggone good.”
Gilbert expects a tough battle with Providence tonight.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Gilbert said. “We’ve got a chance to go into the No. 4 team in the state’s home court and get a victory. We’re looking forward to it.”
Jeff guard Myles Harvey did not play on Friday because he has been sick all week with the flu. Gilbert says he is not sure if Harvey will play against the Pioneers.
Floyd Central will host North Harrison (7-3) tonight.