Cougars continue to build momentum with win

GREENFIELD — It was Matt Turner’s fourth quarter, Logan Graddy’s free throws, Will O’Connor’s steals and Jacob Cochran’s reverse layups.

It was a little bit of everything that gave Class 4A Greenfield-Central boys basketball its second win in a row Friday night, defeating Class 3A Franklin County 63-49.

The team was coming off an emotional game after a senior night win against Knightstown 71-46. They kept the momentum going after taking the lead to start the game and never letting go.

“Sometimes it’s hard coming off a big win and an emotional night,” Greenfield-Central head coach Lukas Haworth said. “I was proud of the energy we had to keep the lead where it was.”

Their energy held and they slowly extended the lead after a 14-10 first quarter. The only hiccup was when Franklin County turned a 11-point deficit at the half into a 1-point deficit. The Wildcats went on a nine-point streak after being down 32-22.

A few Greenfield-Central turnovers and some aggressive Franklin County offense forced a Cougar timeout. The score was 32-31.

“It was not a lack of playing hard or a lack of effort, it was more a lack of execution,” Haworth said of the third quarter. “We continued to have great energy and effort and eventually it went back our way.”

So the Cougars kept pressing on. They led 41-33 at the end of the third and Turner kicked it into high gear in the fourth quarter. He scored 10 of his game-high 18 points in the last eight minutes.

Other key contributions included Graddy’s 8-for-9 free throw shooting. In total, the team only missed three of their 23 freebies, shooting 87 percent.

O’Connor gave the team some spark at key moments during the game. Just before halftime, he snagged a Wildcat pass and drew a foul at the other end of the court. After draining his free throws with 7.0 seconds to go, he snuck another steal on the in-bounds passed but the buzzer layup didn’t quite find the net.

Then at the end of the third quarter, he executed another last-second play and pushed the lead to eight points.

The team was slow and steady the whole night, and add in a few Cochran reverse layups, and the Cougars had another victory under their belts.

Graddy followed Turner with 15 points, while O’Connor added 13 of his own. Brian Long added seven points and eight rebounds.

The Cougars move to 6-13 with three more games until sectional.

“Right now, we’re really focused on the sectional,” Haworth said. “We think any team in it can win it.”

They have two away games before their next and last home game Feb. 22 against Plainfield.

“We’re really trying to use the backend of this schedule to continue to focus on us and to get wins that carry some momentum into that tough and competitive sectional,” Haworth said.