By Nick Gonnella Daily News
Greensburg Daily News
---- — One sure strength that the Greensburg boys basketball team, the defending Class 3A state champion, has on its side is its desire to play unselfish ball.
Head coach Stacy Meyer, whose program prides itself on sharing the offense, appreciates that out of his players.
“Maturing one year is the continued unselfish play,” he said. “That’s been what we’ve done very well the last few years offensively, sharing the basketball, and we have to continue to do that. We have to make other guys around us better, and we have to continue with that attitude.”
All five starters return on a team that competed in one of the state’s toughest paths to the finals. The starters accounted for 87 percent of Greensburg’s scoring. Lost to graduation were sixth man Tyler Burcham, Shane Ploeger (91 points and 48 rebounds) and Riley Billieu (36 points, 18 rebounds).
Senior point guard Bryant McIntosh, who signed his national letter of intent this month to play basketball for Northwestern University, will run the floor for a third straight season. Greensburg’s career leader in assists, named All-Conference and All-State, averaged more than 16 points and seven assists. He also shot 45.6 percent on three’s.
Senior forward Sean Sellers, who signed to play for Ball State, is the program’s career leader in scoring and rebounding. The All-Conference and All-State player posted 17.7 points and more than seven rebounds per game. Sellers also shot 83 percent from the foul line and 41 percent on three’s.
Senior guard Macy Holdsworth, a fourth-year starter, was All-Conference last winter. He signed a letter of intent to play baseball for Indiana University. Holdsworth scored seven points per game – including 45 percent from the 3-point line - and added more than 90 assists last season.
Senior guard Collin Rigney, a second-year starter, averaged 7.3 points and shot 40 percent on three’s. Rigney signed to play tennis for Ball State.
Junior Ryan Welage, a third-year starter who was named All-Conference, averaged 12.8 points and more than six rebounds.
Senior Tom Lawrence, a “battle-tested” forward who has gained valuable varsity experience in 21 games, will come off the bench on varsity.
Senior Tye Fleetwood, who played in 21 games, brings speed and athleticism to the bench.
Senior Brad Wilson (17 games), an offensive and defensive lineman in the fall, adds size to the Pirates’ arsenal.
“That’s something that we really don’t have,” said Meyer. “He brings that to the table, and he can get some playing time for us because of that.”
Seniors Bryce Bennett and Riley Burkert both played JV last season and will both play guard.
“They will add depth to our bench this season,” said Meyer.
Sophomore Drew Foster, who was on the tournament roster as a freshman, will compete for a guard spot off the bench.
Greensburg’s coaching staff looks forward to seeing how the bench’s depth will play out.
“That’s been the fun part of the preseason for those guys, to figure out where they’re going to fall in those areas and with their roles,” said Meyer. “We can fulfill those roles by the players we lost last year, and we’re really looking forward to that.”
Meyer commented on how his team answered adversity last season, particularly a season-turning loss at Batesville.
“Looking back, during that segment, I don’t think we were playing extremely well,” he said. “A big area was rebounding. In that Batesville loss, they killed us on the glass. We continued to get better throughout the last portion of the season and into the tournament. I think what won us a lot of games, was our rebounding. Our kids had to respond to Batesville beating us down there, and we handled that very well. I thought we grew up a lot.”
Meyer added that rebounding and defending, which he called “two keys to winning games, are two areas the Pirates need to improve.
“I think we have,” he noted. “I’ve been very pleased with our work early on here, and the preseason. I think our guys have taken those two areas very seriously, and have gotten better.”
The Pirates, once again, will have one of the state’s toughest journeys to the finals. With the addition of Bowman Academy to Class 3A, and a loaded Guerin Catholic squad that added 6-foot-6 junior Matt Holba, the Pirates face a tournament field that also includes Fort Wayne Concordia, Brownstown Central and Evansville Bosse.
However, Meyer likes Greensburg’s toughened schedule and said the team feels fortunate to play in the Dec. 28 Hall of Fame tournament at New Castle.
“That’s a tournament that we want to try to win,” he said. The Pirates will play Mt. Vernon (Fortville) at 11 a.m.
Greensburg also is competing against North Central, one of the state’s premier Class 4A schools, at Southport High School Saturday, Dec. 14.
“We have that opportunity, too, that we’re looking forward to,” he said.
Returning to coach JV is Jason Simpson. Also returning to assist Meyer are Scott Holdsworth, Dave Lawrence and Scott McIntosh, while Scott Ferguson will coach freshmen.
“We’re expecting good things,” said Meyer.
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.