For The Daily Reporter
RUSHVILLE — In one of the oldest high school gyms still in use in Indiana, the Greenfield-Central Cougars made up for its history on the famed court. In the past 11 seasons, the Cougars had beaten the Rushville Lions just once, and had not won in Memorial Gymnasium (Est. 1926), since 2004. That changed Friday night, as the Cougars soundly defeated Rushville 53-37.
It was the manner of victory that indicated why Greenfield-Central coach Mike Lewis believes this team to be special. With two of its four senior starters sitting out the vast majority of the first half, Tate Hall with foul trouble and Kirill Schoellman out with injury, seniors Chandler Bean and Blake Robertson lead the way.
“Chandler Bean is absolutely becoming a floor general and our emotional leader,” Lewis said. “And with Robertson really growing his game, it truly gives us another gear.”
With the Cougar offense sputtering a bit in the first half, it was Bean who got the team going by drawing fouls on quick drives to the basket.
With Rushville wary of Bean’s speed the rest of the night, he made them pay by passing the ball to the open man, who happened to be Robertson for much of the night. Robertson and Bean would finish the night with 17 and 9 points, respectively.
Stepping in for the injured Schoellman, junior Joshua Mundell provided a boost of energy to the Cougars as well, with five first half points. Most notably, a three-point basket as time expired in the first quarter.
It was not only Bean’s leadership on the offensive end that lead to victory, but his defensive tenacity as well. The Cougar defense swarmed Rushville for three of the four quarters, and held them to single digit scoring in the first, second, and fourth quarters.
While the Rushville senior duo of Jaret Sons and Alex Yurack did combine for 28 points, Greenfield held the remainder of the Lions to 9 points.
“We absolutely guarded them,” Lewis said. “We made their catches difficult and held a team with two really good scorers to 37 points … great defense.”
With only two remaining regular season games and the State Tournament selection show looming Sunday, Lewis stated he wasn’t really focused on exactly who his team would face.
“We had kids step up off the bench, and really show the growth of our program. And when you have a group of kids who have really committed like these guys have, you just look forward to each individual day.”