Although last year’s sectional championship and 20-0 regular season ranks high in the history books of Greensburg athletics, boys basketball head coach Stacy Meyer put it in perspective two nights before the season opener.
“We don’t bring up last year. That was last season,” he said. “We focus on what we have to get better at today. We’re doing really well at that.”
Greensburg, which finished 23-1 and ranked first in Class 3A most of the season, was the only unbeaten team in the regular season out of 414 schools.
As rare as an undefeated season is, Meyer said the team takes as much pride in day-to-day improvements as it does in setting records.
“That’s the thing we stressed this year,” he said. “We’re going in to focus every day in practice and get better at the little things we have to get better at. Everybody in the state wants to win a sectional championship, but right now, you have injury and sickness that can happen before then. I truly believe you have to work to get better every day. It’s adversity, and you have to be able to overcome adversity. It’s how you go about your business every day to reach those goals.”
Departing through graduation were Matt Lee, Clayton Tressler, and starter Iven Stewart. Lee and Tressler provided valuable defense off the bench, while Stewart was the team’s leading fastbreak scorer and third-highest scorer overall.
“We did lose three seniors and three important seniors to graduation,” said Meyer. “We do have a lot of guys returning from last year’s team, and that’s a great thing to have.”
Juniors Sean Sellers (leading shooter, rebounder, free throw shooter) and Bryant McIntosh (assists leader), who are being looked at by Division I colleges, led the team in scoring. Junior Macy Holdsworth, a third-year guard, was a clutch perimeter shooter who alternated with McIntosh at the point.
Sophomore forward Ryan Welage has shown steady improvement.
“Ryan is a better basketball player as a sophomore this year than he was last year, more confident and stronger than last year,” said Meyer. “It is very difficult to go from eighth grade basketball to a varsity starter. He did, and we’re very pleased with how much he improved this year.”
Four players who are coming off sectional championships in fall sports, juniors Collin Rigney and Tom Lawrence, and seniors Tyler Burcham and Riley Billieu, will be counted on to fill Stewart’s spot.
“Collin Rigney has made a great effort to become a better defensive player,” said Meyer. “I’ve seen it every day in practice.”
Senior Shane Ploeger, a part of the sectional-champion football team, played a lot of junior varsity and will dress for varsity. Lawrence, the leading JV scorer, also jumped up to varsity.
“I’m hoping the guys off the bench and JV players from last year can help fill that in,” said Meyer. “(They have) gotten better. We’re going to have great depth. Early signs have shown that those kids have worked really hard and have bought into what we want to do.”
Greensburg averaged more than 76 points a game and scored 70 or more points in 17 of 24 games. Meyer credited high assist totals and unselfishness for the prolific scoring.
“Offensively, we have guys who can score from anywhere on the court,” he said. “I was proud. I think our team does play unselfish. That shows up in the number of field goals we attempt, and how many field goals result from assists. We’ve seen that so far in the preseason and we just hope to continue that when the season starts.”
Meyer commented on the winning mentality that he believes will carry over from the seven athletes on three different sectional champions – particularly the three seniors.
“That’s an attitude that they’ve added to our team. It’s been a great attitude,” he said. “There’s really not just one kid or two, because it’s just been a team effort. They bring that and take pride in that. That overcomes one kid being a leader. I’m very proud of the guys’ commitment that we’ve made.”
What has encouraged Meyer the most, is executing “a lot of the little things” in practice and in the scrimmage against Cambridge City.
“We’ve made a concerted effort to become a better defensive and rebounding team,” he said. “I saw some flashes of that happening. I saw some of those good things in practice. It’s an important thing that we know we can be successful. I’ve been proud of their approach so far leading up to the first game.”
The JV team tied with East Central for the EIAC title.
“Coach Simpson is going to have a good mix of kids on the JV team as well,” said Meyer of Jason Simpson.
Meyer is pleased with what he has seen in juniors Brad Wilson and Tye Fleetwood, the JV free throw leader. Wilson is battling an injury suffered late in the football season, but Greensburg is working to get him back in action. Fleetwood will play JV and dress varsity.
“He’s done a tremendous job for us,” said Meyer of Fleetwood.
Juniors Riley Burkert and Bryce Bennett, and sophomores Josiah Buell and Kevin Beaver, will play JV.
“A lot of our players, since we were so young last year, especially at the guard spot, we’ll play JV players because they’re so young,” said Meyer. “Bryce Bennett saw limited JV action, but as a junior we’re looking for bigger and better things.”
Freshman Drew Foster also will play JV.
“We’re looking for Drew to be a big contributor for us,” said Meyer.
Assisting Meyer is Scott Holdsworth, with Jason Simpson coaching JV. Scott Ferguson will coach the freshmen, with Dave Lawrence as his volunteer assistant.
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.