KNIGHTSTOWN — The Greenfield-Central Cougars found themselves in trouble on Thursday night in Knightstown, but they also found their heart.
Despite not taking its first lead until 2:45 remained in the third quarter, the Greenfield-Central Cougars defeated the host Knightstown Panthers 47-42 to improve their record to 9-10.
“I give credit to Knightstown,” Greenfield-Central coach Michael Lewis said after a short postgame talk with his team. “They took the fight to us, and we didn’t take it to them.”
Two minutes into the game the Cougars found themselves down by five points after senior guard Daniel Rayburn made his first two shots of the game. After that, it was junior guard Tucker Personett who capitalized on lapses by the Cougars’ defense to drain jump shots and spot his team a four-point halftime lead.
Personett led all scorers with 20 points.
“At halftime I told the guys that ‘we are in the position we are in, and we need to just fight our way through it,’” Lewis said.
Lewis wasn’t the only one who spoke during halftime. Senior Drey Jameson came forward and told his teammates they weren’t going to lose. In the second half, he saw to it that his statement came true.
Along with junior Will O’Connor, Jameson lead the Cougars back and kept Knightstown’s frantic comeback attempts at bay.
To start the third, O’Connor and Jameson found teammates inside for layups, in stark contrast to the missed jumpers of the first half, and the Cougars were off and running from there.
After the interior baskets opened up Knightstown’s defense, O’Connor and Jameson were able to bury two 3-pointers and tie the game by the end of the third quarter.
Late in the quarter, O’Connor stole a pass near half court, drove to the basket and dunked while being fouled. O’Connor made the free throw to give the Cougars a 10-point lead.
“I certainly haven’t seen a play like that in a game since I’ve been here,” Lewis stated. “But that really gave us the energy we needed to close out the game.”
With Knightstown needing to foul to attempt a comeback, Jameson and O’Connor calmly combined to make 7 of 8 free throws to seal the team’s ninth victory of the season and third in four games.
“I’m very proud of these guys for finding a way to win when we didn’t play our best; I think that’s a great sign,” said Lewis.
The Cougars are back at it again tonight as they travel to Franklin County High School for a 7:30 p.m. tip.