Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

March 5, 2013

Pirates advance to Washington Regionals

Nick Gonnella
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — The Greensburg boys basketball team prevailed over Madison Saturday in the Class 3A Sectional 29 tournament, 69-52.

The win marked a second straight title for the Pirates, and third in four seasons. The Pirates have won three titles against three different teams in that span - Batesville in 2010, Rushville in 2012 and Madison in 2013.

Greensburg, now 22-1, led most of the first quarter until finding itself trailing the Cubs. Junior Sean Sellers started the scoring with a rebound putback, but Madison answered to tie it. Hoping to help his team pull away, Pirate junior Bryant McIntosh increased the lead to 5-2 with a 3-pointer.

Madison (11-11) refused to fold, taking advantage of the Pirates’ slow start. Junior Carson Wattenbarger’s triple tied it, and junior Landon Perry later sent Madison ahead 10-8 with his own triple less than four minutes into the game.

Another junior stepped up for Greensburg as Macy Holdsworth converted a 3-point play to put his team up 14-12. Madison again struck back, knotting it back up at 14-all to end the first quarter. The Cubs later took a 30-29 lead into the locker room. Greensburg head coach Stacy Meyer found no reason to panic in the face of his team’s deficit.

“I didn’t think we got a great start,” said Meyer, “but I’m very proud of these guys for how they regrouped at halftime, and came out to play that second half. So it was good enough to get a win.”

The Pirates rediscovered their season-long championship form, breaking out with an 18-8 edge in the third quarter. Once the hosts recaptured their rhythm, nothing that happened in the first half of the past two nights mattered.

“We didn’t come out and play very well in the first half,” said Meyer. “Some of that was the emotional win from Friday night. Madison was tough because we didn’t know them like a conference team. If we were playing Batesville in the final game, we know each other so well. We just didn’t know Madison that well, so it took a half to get adjusted to everything.”

The Pirates, who have won 45 of their past 47 games overall, pulled away from the Cubs with a decisive 23-14 fourth-quarter advantage.

“It was a hard-fought game,” said Meyer. “A couple times it got heated out on the floor. Tempers flared a little. We kept our composure very well throughout the game, and just continued to do the things that we do, and I think finally just wore Madison out. That second half, we just stayed with what we do offensively, and I think just wore them out a little bit.”

McIntosh led all scorers with 20 points. He scored 15 in the first half and added an 8-for-8 effort from the foul line in the fourth quarter.

Sellers followed with 17 points and 12 rebounds, including 13-for-18 from the line. He shot 27-for-32 (84 percent) from the stripe in the sectional. Sellers also moved closer to the school’s career scoring record and needs just four points to tie the 1,226-point mark.

Holdsworth followed with 14 points, including 11 in the first half and a team-high three triples.

Sophomore Ryan Welage added eight points (4-for-6 from the line). Senior Tyler Burcham scored five, while senior Shane Ploeger and junior Collin Rigney each added two. Senior Riley Billieu chipped in one.

Greensburg shot 30-for-39 from the foul line, including 17-for-22 in the fourth quarter.

Meyer said defense and rebounding, along with free throw shooting, were the difference against Batesville and Madison.

“I thought Friday against Batesville we rebounded well,” he said, “and I thought the second half against Madison, we rebounded very well. When you contest shots, rebounds come off, you’re blocking out, and we’re going to get out in transition. We got a lot of easy opportunities from doing that.”

Seeing his team win a sectional the night after a big win over Batesville for a second straight year, Meyer acknowledged the danger of an emotional letdown.

“When you have such a rival game on Friday and we win that game, to come back, and even the crowd wasn’t as big, to fight that letdown is tough,” he noted. “But you have to understand, the team you’re playing for a sectional championship is a very good basketball team.”

Meyer noted that the win over the Cubs was a microcosm of the season.

“Our final game against Madison is what we’ve done all year,” he of the balanced offensive attack aided by a consistent press. “We did a nice job of contesting shots, which led to rebounding and easy baskets on the other end.”

Perry led the Cubs with 17 points, including four 3-pointers. Senior Matt Woolard, Wattenbarger and senior Ryan Thurston each added nine. Madison shot 5-for-10 from the stripe.

Greensburg will play Evansville Bosse (19-5) in Saturday’s Regional tournament at Washington High School. The tipoff is set for 10:30 a.m. Brownstown Central (23-1) will play Vincennes Lincoln (18-6) in the second game. The regional championship game is set for 8 p.m.

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