The boys basketball season's third showdown between the top two teams in the EIAC came down to the last seconds, as both teams and supporters alike have come to expect.
The Greensburg boys basketball team defeated Batesville 62-60 on sophomore Bryant McIntosh's pair of free throws with 1.8 seconds left in the Greensburg Sectional 29 semifinal game.
The top-ranked Pirates, who improve to 22-0, advance to play Rushville in the championship tonight at 7:30 p.m. Rushville (7-14) beat Lawrenceburg in the first game, 60-55.
In what was the most improbable of endings in a game with stark contrasts, the Pirates overcame a resilient and defensively tenacious Bulldog squad.
The game was delayed one hour to allow teams in the first game more traveling time after severe weather damaged areas in the southeastern region of the state.
Clutch plays from a host of heroes helped the Pirates either climb ahead or tie the game in the closing minutes. As was the case for most typical matchups between these two clubs, the fourth quarter mattered the most. However, 24 minutes of the game had to be played first.
Head coach Stacy Meyer and his team relished not only the win, but the competitiveness of games in the close rivalry.
"They're fun," he said. "Both teams deserved to win tonight. Both teams had this game won. We're very fortunate that we were the last team with the ball."
After trailing by four points for most of the first quarter, Greensburg cut into a 15-10 deficit when sophomore Bryant McIntosh was fouled attempting a 3-pointer. He made two free throws to make it 15-12 after the first eight minutes.
The game's complexion changed in the second quarter, but only after the teams exchanged triples in a sequence that McIntosh started by opening the period with successive treys. His second trey gave the Pirates their first lead at 18-15 just over a minute into the quarter. Sophomore Collin Rigney followed with his own 3-ball, making it 21-18, and McIntosh converted a 3-point play to make it 24-18. McIntosh at one point scored 14 of Greensburg's points in succession.
Senior Matt Lee and sophomore Sean Sellers scored back-to-back to put their team up 28-19, and senior Iven Stewart took a feed from McIntosh to end the half at 30-23.
Greensburg went back up by nine on a bucket by freshman Ryan Welage. Batesville, though, sensed its season being threatened and answered back. The Hoeing brothers took charge, with junior Mike Hoeing pulling it to 36-33. Quinn Grimsley trey and senior Jordan Walsman's deuce fueled a 12-4 Batesville run to make it 36-35. Pirate sophomore Macy Holdsworth ended it with a triple.
The iron became unkind to both teams in the second half of the period, combining to shoot 2-for-8 from the foul line. Walsman recorded a 3-point play, 40-38 with 4:11 left. Freshman Bryan Hoeing tied it at 40 inside the 3-minute mark.
Rigney, though, gained the lead back for the Pirates. He drew a foul taking a steal to the hoop, and converted two free throws to end the third quarter at 42-40.
After just one lead change the first three quarters, the fourth quarter took on a life of its own. The game's top scorers compiled points in bunches to spark their respective team's attacks. Sellers sandwiched a trip to the foul line between two shot blocks, but Bryan Hoeing responded with a trey that made it 44-43. Rigney scored on a McIntosh pass to make it 46-43, the most Greensburg would lead the rest of the night. Four straight points from Walsman put the Bulldogs back on top for the first time in more than two quarters. Sellers gave the edge back to Greensburg, but Bryan Hoeing scored four more of his own.
That's when McIntosh, one of Greensburg's heralded sophomores, took the game into his hands. He regained a 52-51 lead with four straight points. However, Bryan Hoeing took it back with two at the foul line.
Walsman made it a two-point game with a freebie at the 3-minute mark. Sellers tied it back up, though, with two of his own. Moments later, Walsman made the front end of a 1-and-1 to make it 55-54. Holdsworth and Hoeing alternated triples, with the latter giving Batesville a 58-57 edge.
After Greensburg failed to convert a 1-and-1, Batesville called a timeout with 24 seconds left. McIntosh answered again, swiping a steal and finishing at the rim to make it 59-58. He grabbed another steal just seconds later and made the first of two at the line after getting fouled.
Following the seventh lead change of the fourth quarter and the ninth of the game, Mike Hoeing scored with 4.5 seconds left and was fouled on the play. However, the toss failed to fall and Greensburg rebounded with the game still knotted. Mike Hoeing fouled McIntosh near the midcourt line with 1.8 seconds left, and McIntosh coolly made both shots to give Greensburg the lasting advantage.
"We've been in games where we look at it and think, oh man, we're done," said Meyer. "We don't give up."
McIntosh led all scorers with 28 points, including two treys. Sellers followed with 12, while Rigney scored seven and a triple. Holdsworth finished with six, while Welage and Lee added two.
Bryan Hoeing led Batesville with 21 points.
Scoring by Quarters:
GB - 12 18 12 20 - 62
BV - 15 8 17 20 - 60
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.