For The Daily Reporter
SHELBYVILLE — Just before Greenfield-Central’s tip-off Saturday night in Shelbyville, some Golden Bears fans were overheard asking each other, “Are these guys good?”
Less than two minutes into the game, they had their answer.
Greenfield-Central scored the first 10 points of the game and settled in for a battle with its Hoosier Heritage Conference rival before walking away victorious 55-54.
The Cougars (11-4, 3-2 HHC) opened with a 13-2 lead behind seniors Tate Hall, Kirill Schoellman and Blake Robertson. Unfortunately for the Cougars, however, after scoring seven quick first-quarter points, Hall picked up two fouls and was forced to sit for the remainder of the half.
In the second quarter, Robertson and junior guard Drey Jameson each picked up their games and scored seven points to keep the Cougars in front with a 34-28 lead at halftime.
Robertson’s momentum carried over as he scored the first five points of the second half. He finished the game with 15 points.
“Robertson had an absolutely great game,” Greenfield-Central head coach Michael Lewis remarked in an energized locker room after the game. “He’s a great shooter, but he really attacked the basket tonight and was looking to make passes.”
With a nine-point lead midway through the third quarter, Greenfield-Central looked to pull away, but Shelbyville junior guard John Lux banked in a 3-pointer that would be the catalyst for a wild final 12 minutes.
Behind Lux, who finished with a game-high 23 points, Shelbyville (5-10, 1-4 HHC) clawed back to take its first lead of the game with 5:30 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Cougars’ offense fell silent for the first three and a half minutes of the final quarter, and they stared at a 53-49 deficit.
With the game still in the balance, the Cougars’ last six points would come from the free-throw line as Hall and Schoellman relentlessly drove to the basket to draw fouls.
Tied at 53-all, the Cougars caught a break when Shelbyville’s coach, Ryan Mack, called a timeout as one of his players waltzed in for an uncontested layup following a scramble for the ball.
Instead of a two-point lead, Shelbyville was only able to score one on the ensuing possession.
With 2:32 remaining, Hall drove the basket again and made his free throws to give the Cougars a 55-54 lead, which is all they would need.
Despite being scoreless, the final two and a half minutes held plenty of drama. At one point, Shelbyville had three chances to score on a single possession but came up empty.
The Cougars later missed the front end of two one-and-one opportunity’s, and the second was rebounded by Lux, who had his last-second jumper bank off the glass, skim around the rim and fall out.