NEW CASTLE — It was methodical and well planned. As far as game plans go, the Greenfield-Central Cougars couldn’t have executed theirs much better.
After controlling the tempo in the first half to build a six-point lead, Greenfield-Central was outscored 18-8 in the third quarter on Tuesday against Pendleton Heights. However, the Cougars would show resilience and work their way back to force overtime. And then a second.
With a little help from its senior guards, too, Class 4A Greenfield-Central escaped with a 64-57 win against the Arabians in the second quarterfinal of Sectional 9.
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“We had multiple kids step up tonight,” Cougars head coach Michael Lewis said. “I thought the turning point of the game was in the third period. We could have hung our heads. We fought through adversity.”
Senior guard Drey Jameson nailed a three from the right corner with less than four seconds on the clock in the first overtime to force a second.
Before that in regulation, senior guard Josh Mundell, who finished with a game-high 24 points, nailed a three from the left corner to give the Cougars a 44-43 lead.
“(The seniors) stepped up when we needed them to,” Lewis said. “Drey and Josh both hit really big shots. They were ready.”
Those shots, mixed with smart play all around, helped Greenfield-Central (12-12) survive and advance. The Cougars, who outscored the Arabians 11-4 in the second overtime, move on to face New Castle in the second semifinal contest on Friday night.
Pendleton Heights topped Greenfield-Central 67-57 in the team’s first meeting this season. On Tuesday, the Cougars finished the game 20 of 37 from the field and 15 of 18 from the free-throw line. The Arabians were 19-for-47 from the field and shot just 5 of 21 in the fourth quarter and both overtimes combined.
Mundell nearly matched the Pendleton Heights offense in the first half after finishing 5 of 8 from the field (3-for-3 free throws) for 14 points.
The Cougars committed just one turnovers, as well, and used crisp ball movement to get ideal looks at the basket.
Jameson added four points and four rebounds in the first half as Greenfield-Central led 24-18. The Cougars limited the Arabians the seven points in the second quarter while shooting 4 of 7 on its end of the floor.
“Something we talked about was playing our pace,” Lewis said.
Playing without injured sophomore starter Eli Pancol, 6-foot-3 forward Brandon Helpling led the Hoosier Heritage Conference champions Pendleton Heights with six points in the first quarter but did not attempt a shot in the second.
Arabians’ leading scorer Mark Albers, a senior, added five points at the break. He finished with 15 in the game.
Greenfield-Central finished the first half 9 of 17 from the field and 5-for-5 from the free throw line. Pendleton Heights was 8 of 15 and did not have any attempts at the foul line.
Senior John Davis added five points in the win while Jameson finished with 14.