The Greensburg boys basketball team traveled north Saturday for a chance to gain more statewide exposure as the defending Class 3A state champion.
The Pirates returned to Decatur County deserving of more validation after a 77-72 win over North Central in the Southport Tip-Off Classic. North Central, a Class 4A team from Indianapolis, stepped onto the court to face it third straight opponent that was ranked first or second in the state. The Panthers lost to Class 4A’s second-ranked Pike in the season opener, then fell to defending Class 4A No. 1 Carmel Friday night.
North Central (0-3) played like a team desperate for its first win. After a defensively dominated first quarter, the game evolved into an aggressive, physical matchup. The Panthers scored the first point of the game. However, senior Macy Holdsworth forced the only lead change of the game with a 3-pointer. The Panthers and their highly touted sophomore, Eron Gordon, found themselves trailing 9-4 thanks to four quick points from junior Ryan Welage. The Panthers tied it back up at 9-all, but Holdsworth put his team up for good at the 1:10 mark and head coach Stacy Meyer’s team led the rest of the way. Whether at the foul line or behind the 3-point arc, the Pirates extended their lead to double digits. It became 19-11 on triples by seniors Tom Lawrence and Bryant McIntosh. Holdsworth and senior Sean Sellers made it 23-11 with a pair of free throws.
The Pirates overcame Gordon’s game-high 33 points by shooting 27-for-30 (90 percent) from the foul line.
Held scoreless in the first eight minutes, Gordon heated up later in the second quarter. He scored his first basket of the night to make it a 10-point game, 23-13, but Greensburg made another run. Following a McIntosh score, senior Collin Rigney scored five quick points. His triple put the Pirates up 30-16. Gordon sandwiched scores by Rigney and Welage with two triples - including one at the buzzer that made it a 34-24 game at the half.
Gordon scored all 11 of his points in the second quarter. Holdsworth, McIntosh and Rigney each had seven at the break.
The Pirates shot just 8-for-28 (29 percent) in the first half, but improved it to 50 percent (18-for-36) in the second half.
Greensburg scored in three’s to begin the second half. Welage converted a 3-point play, and Holdsworth hit a triple for a 15-point edge (40-25). Twice in a short time frame, McIntosh gave Greensburg a 17-point lead – its biggest of the game. He hit a pair at the stripe, then scored after Welage grabbed a defensive rebound (44-27).
The tempo quickened to its fastest pace of the night, with teams alternating scores three times. Sellers scored another four points, while Wes Stowers and Holdsworth each hit a triple as the third quarter wound down. A free throw by McIntosh gave the Pirates a 52-40 to end the third quarter.
The Pirates expanded their lead to 14 at 56-42 to begin the final period, and Welage scored a quick seven points to put them up 63-50. However, the Panthers compiled a 12-2 run to climb to within three with less than three minutes left. Gordon poured in 10 points during the rally. The margin stayed within five until Sellers went back to work at the foul line. Sellers went 8-for-8 in the fourth quarter and 14-for-14 overall to hold off the Panthers.
Welage, McIntosh and Sellers scored 18 points apiece to lead Greensburg. Holdsworth scored a season-high 13 points, Rigney added seven and Lawrence chipped in three.
Welage added 12 rebounds for a double-double. Sellers posted nine rebounds and added two assists.
McIntosh led his team with five assists, while Holdsworth added four.
Greensburg out-rebounded North Central 42-30 and outscored the Panthers 20-16 in the paint.
Rebounds (42): McIntosh 4, Lawrence 3, Holdsworth 2, Rigney 2.
Blocks (5): Welage 3, Sellers 1, McIntosh 1.
Steals (2): Rigney 1, Holdsworth 1.
North Central scoring: Gordon 33, Jordan Walker 11, Stowers 7, Micheal Logan 6, Kris Wilkes 6, Antonio Singleton 3, Jeff Harris 3, Keldrick Lesure 3.
North Central shot 33 percent (9-for-27) on the night and 11-for-17 (64.7 percent) from the stripe.
The Pirates return to Decatur County this Friday for their second home game of the season, hosting Class 4A Jennings County.
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.