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.