GREENFIELD — If there is one thing to be said about this year’s Greenfield-Central boys basketball team, it is that they are not overwhelmed in meaningful games.
In fact, it seems they thrive in those situations.
With Friday night’s 55-22 throttling of Hoosier Heritage Conference rival Delta, the Cougars can now count five league wins among their seven for the season.
That statistic put a smile on Cougars coach Michael Lewis’ face after the game.
“I only wish we had more conference games,” Lewis said.
Unfortunately for he and the Cougars, that was the last one. Greenfield-Central finished the season 5-2 in HHC play. The win secured them at least a share of second place, with a possibility of claiming runner-up outright depending on how New Palestine (9-8, 4-2 HHC) and Mt. Vernon (9-6, 3-2 HHC) finish the season.
The Cougars put themselves in that position by playing outstanding defense Friday night. Delta came into the game averaging about 50 points per game. Greenfield-Central held them to a new season low.
Each team exited the gates slowly, but once the Cougars found their stride, the game was never in question.
Both teams went without a bucket for the first four-and-a-half minutes, then Blake Robertson knocked down a 3 to put the Cougars up 5-0 and to open the floodgates.
Coming off the bench, Kirill Schoellman injected the Greenfield-Central offense with a much-needed jolt. In about a two-minute span, the junior hit three straight 3s, forcing a Delta timeout and giving the Cougars a comfy 14-0 lead. Schoellman finished with a game-high 11 points.
The Cougars carried a 16-0 lead into the second quarter and Robertson’s 4-point period helped extend the advantage to 26-3 at the break. Robertson was Greenfield-Central’s second leading scorer with 10 points, but it was and his teammates efforts on the other side of the floor that cemented the blowout.
“We got it done on the defensive side of the ball tonight,” Lewis said. We had balanced scoring. People were sharing the basketball, but the defense fed into our offense tonight. … There’s no doubt we’re playing better defense than we did in the beginning of the year. Have we arrived? No. But we’re making progress in that department.”
Though they are no longer eligible for a conference crown, as Pendleton Heights (14-4, 6-0) defeated Yorktown 44-29 on Friday night to secure the title, Lewis still was proud of what his team has accomplished this season.
“I’m glad we were able to come out and perform well in the conference,” he said. “The two games we lost were both overtime games, so I think it shows we are capable of playing with very good teams, and that’s encouraging going into the sectional.”
Notes: Five of the seven Cougars’ wins came within the HHC. The other two both came against Indianapolis Tindley (11-9). … Friday night’s win ended the Cougars’ three-game losing streak against the Eagles. … They are now 3-8 against Delta the past 10 years …The Cougars have not won more than five games in a season since the 2010-11 team that won nine. … Greenfield-Central hosts Greenwood (3-14) 7:30 tonight. … Will O’Connor led the Cougars JV team in their 37-32 victory against Delta on Friday. He had 18 points, while John Davis had 6, and Josh Mundell had 4.