MUNCIE — Following Greenfield-Central’s win at Pendleton Heights last weekend, Cougars head coach Michael Lewis noted the importance of taking and making free throws on the road.
However, his team didn’t need many freebies Thursday at Delta.
After draining five 3-point field goals and building a 17-2 lead to open the first quarter, including three consecutive baskets from senior guard Blake Robertson, Greenfield-Central cruised to a 49-27 win against the Eagles in its Hoosier Heritage Conference finale.
Story continues below gallery
The win cements the Cougars at 5-2 in conference play, keeping the team in the hunt for the HHC title with New Castle (5-0), Pendleton Heights (3-2) and Mt. Vernon (4-1).
Senior forward Kirill Schoellman led the Cougars, shooting just six free throws in the game, with 14 points and 10 rebounds against Delta (12-6, 2-3 HHC), helping the team earn their fifth straight win.
“I thought we had a sense of urgency of the defensive end,” Lewis said after the win. “We have been preaching all year that defense will feed our offense.”
Robertson gave Greenfield-Central a 9-0 lead early with 4:50 remaining in the first frame after his third consecutive three of the game. Shoellman, who finished the first half with eight rebounds, followed suit with a 3-pointer less than a minute later.
“I am so proud of Kirill,” Lewis said. “Almost every game he is undersized (at his position). He battles the post and tonight — no doubt — was his best game.”
Senior forward Tate Hall would add the team’s first bucket inside the 3-point line with 1:50 left in the first quarter and Will O’Conner, a sophomore forward, would add the team’s final three at the buzzer, giving the Cougars the aforementioned lopsided advantage after one.
The Eagles did not score their first field goal until 5:18 remaining in the second quarter and finished the first half 2 of 17 from the field to take a 25-6 deficit into the break.
Delta would outscore Greenfield-Central, who finished the game with 14 assists on 18 made field goals, 11-10 in the third quarter, but the Cougars would respond with a 14-point fourth frame to seal the win.
“I think we are very unselfish and don’t care who scores,” Lewis said. “They are all willing passers.”
Delta, which was led in scoring by senior forward Adam Haynes with 11 points, finished the game 11 of 40 from the field (27 percent) while the Cougars shot 18-for-47 (38 percent).
Hall finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds while Robertson added 11 points.
Greenfield-Central looks to keep its win streak alive on Saturday with an afternoon contest at Greenwood. Tip off is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Delta wraps up its HHC schedule with a trip to New Castle on Feb. 11 and a home contest against Shelbyville on Feb. 19.
In the junior varsity contest, the Cougars won 50-44.