By Nick Gonnella Daily News
Greensburg Daily News
---- — The Greensburg boys basketball team soaked in the atmosphere at New Castle’s Chrysler Fieldhouse Saturday and battled in its second major tournament in nine months.
The defending Class 3A State champion Pirates overcame an eight-point deficit and knocked off Class 4A’s seventh-ranked Columbus North, 65-59, in front of a large crowd that made the trip from Decatur County. Mt. Vernon (Fortville) defeated Evansville Harrison 70-53 in the consolation of the City Securities Hall of Fame Classic.
Greensburg, now 9-0, became the 31st different team to win the Boys Classic. The Pirates outscored the Bull Dogs 23-10 in the second quarter to go into halftime leading 37-32.
The Bull Dogs, though, led 22-14 after the first eight minutes. Greensburg had led 4-0 early on, but the Bull Dogs’ size took over. Head coach Stacy Meyer was wary of the offensive threats that their post players posed. Elliott Welmer, a 6-foot-9 senior, and Josh Speidel, a 6-foot-8 junior, combined for 18 first-quarter points.
“They were pounding it inside,” said Meyer. “Before the game, that was my biggest fear. We switched to a 2-3 zone in the second half. I thought it got them standing around, so it was effective for us. We played two totally different styles of play and I thought our kids handled it very well.”
On his way to an MVP performance, senior Bryant McIntosh scored a game-high 18 points in the first half.
Greensburg’s lead grew to 10 points three minutes into the third quarter, but the Bull Dogs tied it at 49-all at the third stop.
However, McIntosh – and hustle plays by numerous teammates – lifted the Pirates back up for good. A team effort from junior Ryan Welage, senior Collin Rigney, senior Sean Sellers and senior Macy Holdsworth, helped the Pirates finish off the Bull Dogs and capture their first ever Hall of Fame championship.
Sellers, who will be playing for Ball State University, said the Pirates played as if they wanted it more.
“Definitely, down the stretch, we did what we needed to do to win,” he said. “We played pretty well.”
Sellers was selected to the All-Classic team, voted by media members in attendance. Also selected All-Classic were Evansville Harrison’s Ernie Duncan, Mt. Vernon Fortville’s CJ Coleman, along with Welmer and Speidel.
McIntosh led all scorers with a season high 27 points on 10-for-18 shooting and 6-for-7 from the foul line. He added three assists. Welage followed with 13 points and six rebounds. Holdsworth scored 10 points and tallied two assists, while Sellers added eight points and six rebounds. Rigney chipped in seven points.
Senior Tom Lawrence contributed three rebounds, two shot blocks and a recovery of a loose ball that saved a late Pirate possession. The hustle play led to a pair of Welage free throws to help seal the win.
Greensburg shot 10-for-15 (75 percent) from the foul line, while Columbus North shot 9-for-16 (56.3 percent). The Pirates shot 24-for-47 (51 percent) from the floor, while the Bull Dogs shot 45 percent.
Welmer finished with 19 points to lead the Bull Dogs. Speidel scored 15. Senior Christian Glass scored 10 points.
McIntosh said he was proud of his team’s performance in the final.
“We played a phenomenal game,” he said.
After defeating five straight Class 4A teams, Greensburg will host Class 3A Indian Creek (1-5) this Friday.
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.