The Greensburg boys basketball team took the IHSAA Class 3A Washington Regional by storm Saturday, winning both games to capture the school’s first regional title since 2009.
Greensburg, which improved to 24-1 overall, took down a pair of mighty squads before cutting down the net in front of a crowded Hatchet House of blue-clad fans.
The Pirates faced off against fifth-ranked Evansville Bosse, and quieted JaQuan Lyle and the Bulldogs 82-65. Greensburg returned and advanced with a Regional championship 65-54 over Brownstown Central.
The challenge in the first game was to slow down - if not stop - Lyle, the prized junior being recruited by a handful of Division I colleges. He played up to that billing by putting Bosse on the board first with a slam dunk, but Greensburg’s own college-bound junior guard, Bryant McIntosh, answered with four straight points to tie it.
Following another Lyle dunk, McIntosh put the Pirates up for the first time, 7-6, with a 3-point play. Lyle, though, made it 9-7 with a 3-pointer before Pirate sophomore Ryan Welage tied it back up.
The game became an exchange of 3-pointers as another Bosse junior, Bryson Johnson, made it 12-9. Junior Macy Holdsworth knotted it back up at 12-all with a triple, and junior Sean Sellers put Greensburg ahead 15-12 with his own 3-ball.
Senior Tyler Burcham got into the act with a layup off a steal, making it 17-12. The teams exchanged 3-pointers once again. Lyle and Holdsworth each went deep, and Welage capped a 13-3 Pirate run with a slam dunk.
Lyle finished the first period with a score that gave him a game-high 12 points, but Greensburg still led 22-17.
Sellers began the second quarter with a score that made him the all-time career leader in points with 1,227. Previously owning the record was Spencer Wilkison, who played two seasons from 1984 to 1986.
Welage and Sellers each scored again to give Greensburg its largest lead, 28-17, until the second half. Bosse junior Jeremie Martin’s triple, then Bo Burkhart’s layup, made it 28-22. The Bulldogs entered the break with a 34-33 lead.
Greensburg gradually caught up to Bosse, then tied and finally sprinted away from the Bulldogs in a 49-31 second-half scoring edge. Triples by Sellers, McIntosh and Rigney helped the Pirates gain the advantage, as well as a defense that slowed down Bosse’s main attack.
Greensburg was able to limit Lyle’s output to 13 points the remainder of the game, according to Meyer, by switching from man-to-man to zone defense.
“That was a big key because we were able to keep him out of the lane a little bit, and force some jumpshots that they weren’t hitting the second half. We did a good job of blocking him out. The other thing is, he got some baskets in the first quarter in transition. We shot, in the second half, such a high percentage, there weren’t many transition opportunities for him, so that helped, too. A kid like Lyle, he’s going to score. You can’t let him explode for 40, but you can’t let their other guys beat you. That was the biggest part of the game, because you witnessed it – he’s a great basketball player. You’re not going to totally stop him, but we did a nice job on their other guys, and that was the difference in the game.”
McIntosh and Sellers each scored, but Lyle answered each time to tie the game halfway through the third. A single trip to the line, though, put Greensburg up for good. Sellers hit the front end of a pair with 2:19 left in the third, making it 50-49, after Lyle’s first foul of the game.
Rigney later his a triple, and McIntosh added four straight points for a 57-41 lead.
Sellers and McIntosh took turns in the fourth quarter. A Sellers slam dunk, free throws and another triple, gave the Pirates a double-digit lead that lasted at 68-56. Welage and Sellers each scored six points in the final three minutes in a 25-13 Pirate advantage.
Greensburg shot 13-for-18 from the line. McIntosh scored a game-high 28 points (7-for-8 at the line). Sellers followed with 27, including 11 in the fourth quarter and 6-for-8 from the foul line overall. Welage scored 12, Holdsworth added eight, Rigney chipped in five and Burcham added two.
Pirate 3-pointers (7): Sellers 3, Holdsworth 2, McIntosh 1, Rigney 1.
Lyle finished with 25 points, including 5-for-9 at the line and two triples. Johnson scored 15, junior Bo Burkhart scored 11, while Jeremie Martin and Perry Fairrow each added seven. Fairrow was held 13 points below his season average of 20.
Meyer said the two games for the regional title were the best two games his team played all season by far.
“We played well defensively, and we rebounded well,” he said, ”but we also shot the basketball very well at a high percentage, which kept both teams out of transition on us. We took shots, and shots out of our offense. I’m proud of our kids. I appreciate the fan support. A lot of blue out here, loud, and I don’t think we disappointed anybody. It’s awesome. Ten in the morning, three hours away, and we got this amount of people. Fun environment, great game, and let’s hope we have one more in us.”
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.