Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

March 11, 2014

SECTIONAL CHAMPIONS!!

Pirates win third straight title in historical fashion

Nick Gonnella
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — Few things in high school basketball are more difficult to do than beating a conference rival, especially twice in a season.

The Greensburg boys basketball team accomplished the most challenging task of defeating its biggest rival, Batesville, a third time Saturday to capture a third straight sectional championship.

The top-ranked Pirates beat the eighth-ranked Bulldogs 61-55 and hoisted the Greensburg Sectional 29 trophy in front of a sold out crowd. The title also marked the Pirates’ fifth in the past six seasons.

“Give our kids credit,” said Greensburg head coach Stacy Meyer. “To beat somebody three times is very difficult, especially a team like Batesville.”

Greensburg advances to the Washington Regional for a third straight year and will take on unranked Silver Creek, which upset sixth-ranked Brownstown Central 37-36 Saturday in the North Harrison Sectional 30 Championship. The regional semifinal will tip off at 10 a.m.

Greensburg trailed Batesville just once Saturday, but only after building a 6-2 lead. Pirate senior Bryant McIntosh scored right off the opening tip, and junior Ryan Welage scored on the next possession to make it 4-0.

Batesville got on the board at the 6:29 mark of the opening period on a layup by junior Bryan Hoeing. McIntosh answered with a jumper, making it 6-2 with 5:31 left. Junior Blake Walsman and Hoeing each scored to tie it up, but McIntosh put the Pirates back up 8-6.

The Bulldogs assembled a 7-2 run to take a 9-8 lead. Hoeing had given his team its only lead with a 3-pointer at the 2:10 mark.

Senior Sean Sellers put Greensburg up for good with 1:45 left in the first, and senior Collin Rigney then converted a 3-point play to make it 13-9. Rigney’s and-one was forced by the first foul of the game, at the 1:13 mark.

Senior Macy Holdsworth capped the first quarter scoring with a triple.

Welage then hit a rebound basket to cap a 10-0 Greensburg run that spanned the start of the second quarter. The run, which put the Pirates up 18-9, signaled their biggest of the game and proved to be crucial to their victory.

The pace of the game slowed in the second quarter, with teams combining for 23 points. The Pirates were not tagged with their first foul until a minute into the second. However, Batesville went into a dry spell, scoring four points in the next two minutes – all from Hoeing. Greensburg took the second-quarter edge 12-11. Hoeing scored nine of his team’s 11 points, while Welage, McIntosh and Sellers all contributed to the Pirates’ cause.

Hoeing led all scorers with 16 points at the half. McIntosh led Greensburg with eight, while Welage had seven and Sellers had five.

Each team scored in spurts throughout the third quarter. Greensburg compiled a 9-4 run to start the second half, with scores by four different Pirates, to make it 37-24 at the 5:46 mark. Batesville pulled to within eight by scoring seven of the next nine points.

The Pirates scored the final six points of the third period to take its largest lead at 45-31. Following two Welage free throws, Sellers slammed home a dunk to cap the third quarter scoring.

Batesville started a comeback by capitalizing on Greensburg miscues. The Pirates committed two turnovers and five personal fouls in a four-minute span, allowing the Bulldogs to construct an 18-8 run to start the final eight minutes. Senior Wes McKinney scored seven points in a four-minute span, and Walsman added seven in five minutes. Batesville shot 10-for-12 from the foul line in the fourth quarter alone.

However, the Pirates weathered the Bulldog attack and went to work at the charity stripe. Sellers, who had made a 3-point play earlier in the quarter, shot 8-for-9 from the line and scored 10 points – a game-high for a single quarter.

Batesville tallied seven offensive rebounds in the second half.

“That’s the thing with Batesville,” said Meyer. “To beat them, you have to be able to rebound the basketball. We battled very hard tonight on rebounds, especially defensive rebounding.”

Hoeing ended up with 31 points to lead all scorers.

“He’s a great player,” said McIntosh of Hoeing. “He really has an effect on all five defenders. You have to lock in on him.”

Welage noted that being prepared to play defense and guard Hoeing would lead to a win.

“We played a great team,” he said. “It took a team effort on defense to stop Hoeing and the rest of their players. They had several others step up tonight, too. We came together to play team defense.”

Sellers led his team with 21 points, including 9-for-11 from the foul line.

McIntosh added another double-double with 18 points and 10 assists, one night after tying his school record 15 assists against Franklin County. Welage added 11 points and a team-high six rebounds. Rigney tallied six points and a team-high two steals. Holdsworth scored three and senior Tom Lawrence chipped in two.

Sellers also added four rebounds to his school career record.

Greensburg shot 17-for-21 (81 percent) from the foul line, while Batesville shot 15-for-18 (83 percent).

Walsman scored 11 points for Batesville (5-for-6 from the line), McKinney added nine and senior Nathan Longstreth added four.

McIntosh described the feeling of advancing past the sectional tournament.

“It’s humbling, but we’re still hungry,” he said. “We’ve been to the highest level and we want to get back to it.”

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