Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

March 15, 2013

Common goal trumps Pirates’ individual numbers

Nick Gonnella
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — The Greensburg boys basketball team appears set to make school history tomorrow afternoon.

The Pirates celebrated Saturday’s regional championship, which required a team effort to knock out a pair of top-five teams in Class 3A.

Greensburg (24-1) will have an opportunity to extend its record-setting season at the Class 3A South Semi-State in Richmond. Top-ranked Mt. Vernon (Fortville), which is 24-1, stands in Greensburg’s way.

The Pirates will also have a chance to extend two individual records when the season continues this Saturday at Richmond High School. After setting a school record for wins in a regular season with 20 and going unbeaten through last year’s sectionals, the Pirates are aiming for win No. 25...and beyond.

Individually, a pair of juniors set school records during the regional tournament. Forward Sean Sellers was approaching the all-time scoring record of 1,226, needing five points in the opening game against Evansville Bosse. The previous career scoring record was held by Spencer Wilkison, who played for two seasons from 1984 to 1986. Sellers tied and passed the mark with a score early in the second quarter.

Junior Bryant McIntosh, whose family moved into Greensburg before his sophomore season, etched his name into the Pirate record books last week. The 6-foot-3 point guard became the school’s record-holder for assists in a season. Tom Greve owned the previous record with 176, accomplished in the 1979 to 1980 season. McIntosh now has 183.

According to head coach Stacy Meyer, however, the individual satisfaction of making history takes a back seat to the collective pursuit of a goal not yet achieved. The Pirates prefer to sail into unchartered waters and become the first team with a chance to carry the state championship trophy back to the Tree City.

While the trio of Sellers, McIntosh and 6-foot-8 sophomore Ryan Welage have accounted for 66 percent (1,177 of 1,791 points) of Greensburg’s offense, Meyer said the rest of the team is just as crucial to the their success.

“When you look at scoring and rebounding, they’re always up there every game, but it’s all the kids,” said Meyer. “When I say all the kids, that is varsity down through freshmen. Just like right now, we have some JV players preparing these players for Semi-State, so they’re just as important as McIntosh, Sellers, Welage, (junior) Macy (Holdsworth) and (junior Collin) Rigney. It’s a total team effort. To have that type of success, it has to be unselfish kids playing unselfish with one common goal in mind, and that’s to win.”

Seniors Tyler Burcham, a defensive specialist, Shane Ploeger, a crucial inside presence, and Riley Billieu, one of the team leaders and valuable players off the bench, have provided energy and depth these first 25 games. The trio’s defensive mettle have proven to be irreplaceable.

In order for Greensburg to achieve its ultimate objective, the Pirates figure Saturday to stay sharp and busy defensively. Although Mt. Vernon scores just less than 15 fewer points than Greensburg, the Marauders are still capable of putting up points.  Junior point guard CJ Coleman surpassed the 1,000-point milestone Saturday in the Regional Championship by scoring 29 points against Frankfort, including 21 first-half points. Coleman averages 19 points per game and leads the team in assists. Held to eight points after halftime, Coleman’s teammates picked him up in the second half. Four different players scored during a 13-3 third-quarter run. Junior forward Stephen Turner, averaging close to 16 this season, finished with 18 points, while junior Zach Spears and Anthony Burnett each added nine.

Another factor that will be on Greensburg’s side is the fan support. The Pirates’ followers outnumbered the oppositions’ for both regional games, which has been the norm all season.

Meyer commented on the strong support that his team has drawn locally.

“It’s amazing what 17- and 18-year old boys can do for a community, and it’s special,” he said. “For one, you never know when it’s ever going to happen again. I think it does show that the boys play with a sense of excellence on and off the court, and I think our community respects that and enjoys that, and supports that...and I think that showed this weekend with the amount of people. It is a rallying point for a community, and it’s special.”



Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.