RICHMOND — Will O’Connor had enough.
With his team down by 18 points and just over eight more minutes left in his high school career, the 6-foot-6 senior guard unloaded from deep Tuesday night and nearly propelled the Greenfield-Central Cougars to an upset win.
O’Connor buried six of his seven 3-pointers in the game during the fourth quarter, chopping down Connersville’s 34-19 lead to five points with 48.0 seconds left, and finished with a game high 25 points.
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“We were down and I wanted to get something going,” O’Connor said. “It’s hard to get downhill on them, so I thought down the stretch, I need to just keep pulling. What do I have to lose?”
The approach nearly worked as Greenfield-Central (7-16) marched back while O’Connor hit four straight 3-pointers in the final 2 minutes, 30 seconds of the game — with three in a 45 second span.
While putting a late scare into the defending sectional champion Spartans, O’Connor’s last trey proved the final Cougars’ point as Connersville (21-4) escaped 50-41 to move into Friday’s semifinal round against Mt. Vernon at 6 p.m.
But it wasn’t easy despite holding a 34-16 lead in the third quarter.
Connersville built a 27-16 lead by halftime behind a 19-4 run and used a 12-2 stretch to go up by as many as 14 points in the first half.
Greenfield-Central’s seven first-half turnovers fueled the Spartans’ offense led by Garrett Silcott’s team-high 16 points. Senior Dalton Lee had 15 points for Connersville and Noah Belt added 13.
“If you talked about an entire season being represented in one game, it was tonight. It wasn’t that our kids made too many mistakes, it was that Connersville would take advantage of it,” Greenfield-Central head coach Lukas Haworth said. “It’s how our season was. These kids fight and play hard, they play aggressive, but that one moment when we have a little stumble, it seems the whole thing crumbles.”
The outcome appeared set in the third quarter when the Cougars were held scoreless in the frame until a 3-pointer by Logan Graddy ended the drought with 25.0 seconds remaining.
From there, O’Connor and the Cougars let it fly.
“That’s the other part that represents our season. Even when these guys have every reason to give up, just when they have every reason to quit and walk away, they keep fighting,” Haworth said. “They keep playing hard and keep fighting. I couldn’t be more proud to coach a group of young men as I was to coach this group.”
Brian Long finished with six points and seven rebounds for the Cougars, while Brady Mundell and Graddy each had three points.