For The Daily Reporter
KNIGHTSTOWN — Even though the Greenfield-Central Cougars were playing on the floor made famous by the movie “Hoosiers,” there was no David vs. Goliath matchup. Nor was there a last-second shot after a picket fence play.
There was however, a second-half offensive explosion by the Cougars on Saturday to secure a 55-40 victory over the Portage Indians.
The Historic Hoosiers gym bearing the maroon and gold “H” for the fictional Hickory High School does not have a regulation size floor, and Portage looked to take advantage of the tight quarters to put pressure on the Cougars throughout the first half.
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“It was a really great experience for our guys to play here,” Greenfield coach Michael Lewis said after the game. “But the size of the court was the only real difference we focused on in regards to game-planning.”
From the opening tip, the Cougars seemingly took a few minutes to adjust to the athleticism and speed of Portage. However, senior Kiril Schoellman picked up key offensive rebounds to keep the Cougars close and help his team take an 11-8 lead into the second quarter.
Schoellman would finish the game with 12 points and a pair of rebounds.
The second quarter did not go well for the Cougars as the Indians pressured even more. Greenfield would only score four points in the frame, and Portage senior Canaan Cooper (19 points, two rebounds) lead his team offensively, to give Portage a 20-15 lead heading into halftime.
Despite the slow start, the Cougars were poised to put together one of their best offensive halves of the season.
“I think we really just didn’t come out aggressive enough,” Lewis said. “The guys really challenged themselves at halftime to attack the basket more.”
The Cougars did just that from the start of the third, and two Cougar seniors keyed the strategy.
Blake Robertson sparked the Cougars by scoring 10 of his 11 points in the quarter. A corner 3-pointer was the first basket of the quarter for the Cougars, and Robertson ended the stanza with a trey from the top of the key at the buzzer to give the Cougars a 35-27 lead heading into the fourth.
“Robertson really sparked us, that is for sure,” Lewis said.
Any hopes Portage had of a comeback were quickly put to rest as Tate Hall took over in the final quarter, repeatedly driving to the basket, getting key defensive rebounds, and drawing fouls.
At one point during the period, Hall scored 11 consecutive points for the Cougars to give his team a commanding 49-38 lead and the victory. Hall would finish with 22 points and seven rebounds.
“I can’t say much about Tate Hall other than he just had an absolutely great game,” Lewis said.
The Cougars will look to secure another victory in a key Hoosier Heritage Conference matchup on Friday, when they host the New Castle Trojans.
Greenfield-Central 55, Portage 40
GREENFIELD – Hall 5 11-14 22, Schoellman 4 2-2 12, Robertson 4 1-2 11, O’Connor 1 2-2 4, Bean 1 0-1 2, Mann 0 2-2 2, VanDuyn 0 2-2 2. Totals: 15 20-25 55.
PORTAGE – Cooper 6 2-3 19, Williams 3 1-2 7, Meux 1 2-2 5, Bates 2 0-0 4, White 1 1-1 3, Hayes 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 6-8 40.
3-pointers: Greenfield 5 (Schoellman 1, Robertson 2, Hall 1) Portage 5 (Cooper 4, Meux 1). Rebounds: Greenfield 19 (Hall 7, O’Connor 2) Portage 17 (Hayes 6, Rudd 2).