GREENFIELD — The Greenfield-Central Cougars did all they could to catch up to the Broad Ripple Rockets on Wednesday night. They just didn’t have enough to pull away.
Coming out slow and struggling with their shots, the Cougars fell behind by double digits before tying the game and cutting their deficit to three points twice, but the Rockets ran away to win 57-45.
“We just flat out didn’t play very good tonight,” Greenfield-Central head coach Michael Lewis said after his team’s first loss of the season. “There’s no other way to spin it. We didn’t have our best game.”
The Class 4A Cougars entered the night a perfect 4-0 on the season, the first time the program has ran the table early since 1997-98, but they had trouble slowing down the 2A Rockets (4-4), which found their rhythm inside and out.
Broad Ripple won its third straight game, including a big victory against Class 2A No. 4 Indianapolis Howe, 75-68, last Saturday.
They carried their momentum into Hancock County, jumping out to a 19-9 lead in the first half and never relinquished as Greenfield-Central shot a season-low 18 percent from the field in the first quarter.
“We have to find a way to get the ball in the hole when we have that many shots around the rim,” Lewis said. “I thought we had a lot of shots around the rim, but we didn’t finish.”
The roles reversed in the second quarter, with the Cougars regrouping to shoot 38 percent from the floor that led to an 8-2 run.
Chandler Bean fired several interior passes, finishing with four assists, to orchestrate the momentum swing and slice Broad Ripple’s advantage to 22-19 at halftime.
Three straight buckets by Blake Robertson to open the second half tied the game at 26, but that was as close as the Cougars would get, with Broad Ripple winning wire-to-wire.
Robertson had 11 points, and Tate Hall had five assists, seven rebounds and scored a game-high 16 points, burying 2 of 5 from 3-point range. Kirill Schoellman added 11 points.
“I’m proud that we battled back from some of that. We had a couple of possessions where we just couldn’t quite get over the hump, but it was a good learning experience for us. We pick ourselves up and move on,” Lewis said.
Broad Ripple was led by Isaiah Banks with 16 points. He shot a perfect 3 for 3 from beyond the arc and was 5 of 9 from the field. Sam Colbert followed with 12 points and Kevin Hackett provided 10.
“They just had quality win against Indianapolis Howe, which just beat Lawrence Central. This was going to speed us up, we don’t see that kind of athleticism often, so it was a good test,” Lewis said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t handle it as well as I thought we would have.”
Broad Ripple’s lead shrank to 42-39 with 2:10 left in the game, but a 9-1 run and 13 of 16 free throws converted kept them in control.
“The nice thing is that we have a quick turnaround to bounce back,” Lewis said.
The Cougars return to their home floor Friday against Hoosier Heritage Conference foe Yorktown at 7:30 p.m. Greenfield Central is 1-0 in HHC play.