Cougars late comeback falls short

GREENFIELD — A red-hot third quarter of shooting was all New Castle needed to remain in first place in the Hoosier Heritage Conference standings Friday night against Greenfield-Central.

Behind a 10 of 12 effort from the field in the third quarter, the Trojans built a 11-point lead and fought off a valiant Cougars’ comeback en route to a 57-55 win.

Greenfield-Central outscored New Castle 21-12 in the fourth quarter, led by 13 points from senior Tate Hall, but it was too little too late.

Hall finished with a game-high 27 points and 12 rebounds while his teammate, guard Blake Robertson, added 12 points and eight boards. David Froedge led the Trojans with 17 points.

“Defense for sure,” Robertson said of the biggest difference between the third and fourth quarters on Friday. “We played well in the fourth quarter but had too many lapses in the third.”

Robertson noted, however, that the loss will help the team realize every minute of every game should be valued.

“We need to play the whole 32 minutes and every quarter,” he said. “We can’t have those bad stretches.”

Titen Bennett added 16 points and six rebounds for New Castle while Andrew Garrett, the team’s leading scorer, finished with 11.

The Trojans (9-1, 4-0 HHC) began the pivotal third quarter 5 of 5 from the field and went on a 9-0 run after the score was deadlocked at 32-all after a Chandler Bean three with just over five minutes remaining in the quarter.

Greenfield-Central (9-4, 2-2 HHC) would go scoreless for nearly five minutes of gameplay until Hall broke the silence at the end of the third quarter with the Cougars trailing 45-34.

Hall and Greenfield-Central would orchestrate their own run (13-7) in the fourth quarter and had a chance to tie the game at 55 with less than 20 seconds left when Cougars’ forward Will O’Connor was found wide open in the right corner.

However, his shot hit every part of the rim and bounced out as the Trojans escaped with their fourth-straight conference win, tops in the HHC.

Greenfield-Central shot 9 of 22 in the first half while New Castle finished 8-for-20. Hall led all scorers at the break with 10 points as the Cougars took a slim lead, 25-23.

The Trojans were 13-for-16 from the charity stripe to seal the win.

For the game, Greenfield-Central finished 21 of 47 from the field while New Castle was 20-for-36.

The Trojans now own the overall series over the Cougars 24-5 during the past 30 years.

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Kris Mills is a sports reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 317-477-3230 or kmills@greenfieldreporter.com.