T-riffic win: Cougars win emotional game on last-second free throw

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GREENFIELD — Emotions were running high Tuesday.

It was Winter Sports Senior Night at Greenfield-Central High School. The Cougars recognized seniors in all of their winter sports in between the junior varsity and varsity boys’ basketball contests between the hometown team and Roncalli.

The flowers and hugs ended after the pre-game ceremony, but the emotions were still elevated.

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Greenfield-Central senior Caleb Mundell hit the second of two free throws with 3.4 seconds remaining to give the Cougars a 60-59 win over the Rebels.

The Cougars improved to 11-9. The Rebels dropped to 9-10.

The game included four technical fouls — two on each team — an intentional foul and an ejection.

“I think our kids have taken on my personality and that chip on the shoulder,” Cougar head coach Luke Meredith said. “Now, we do need to control it.

“We do play with a chip, juice, a swagger, they’ve taken on that from me. I love it, but I wish we could keep our composure. Technical fouls are not okay, so we have to do a better job of that. We teeter that line.”

Late in the first half, Roncalli’s Aidan Looney received a technical foul and was ejected. In the same sequence, Roncalli head coach Michael Wantz was issued a technical foul.

Greenfield-Central freshman Dylan Moles hit all four free throws to give the Cougars a 31-16 advantage. They led 31-18 at the break.

In the second half, Roncalli rallied to make it a one possession game on several occasions and finally tied the game, 59-59, on a three-pointer by Aidan Leffler with 34 seconds remaining.

Waiting to take the game’s last shot, Greenfield-Central’s Caleb Mundell was just beginning his drive to the basket when he was fouled near half court by Roncalli’s Daniel Asher.

He hit the second of two free throws to put the Cougars ahead.

In the final seconds, Roncalli had two in-bound plays. Both were broken up by the G-C defense to secure the win.

“Everybody wants to prove something before the sectional starts (in two weeks),” Caleb Mundell, who was issued one of two technical fouls on the Cougars, said of the teams’ passionate performances. “I think a lot of the emotion is just getting ready for the sectional. It’s that time of year.”

Roncalli was called for 24 fouls and had an intentional foul, late in the third quarter, to go with its techs.

The Cougars hit 22 of 32 free throws (68.8 percent). They shot 17 in the fourth quarter, but missed five of their last seven tries before Caleb Mundell’s final freebie went in, out, and back in again for the final point.

“We wanted to get out in transition and I thought Caleb Mundell was that energizer bunny,” Meredith said. “He never gets tired. He hit the game-winning free throw tonight, but he gets everybody in the right spots. He’s not an incredibly vocal guy, but when he talks everybody listens.”

Caleb Mundell and Brady Mundell had 16 points each to lead the Cougars. Both had seven points in the first half and nine in the second. Moles finished with 12. Jacob Cochran, who was issued a third-quarter technical foul, had eight points.

Roncalli was led by Anthony Donahue with a game-high 19 points, 16 came in the second half. He hit four three-pointers in the last two quarters and was the only Rebel to score in double figures.

Greenfield-Central got off to a great start. The Cougars shot 70 percent (7 of 10) from the field in the first quarter and led by 10, 17-7 after the first eight minutes. Moles and Cochran had five points each in the period.

They shot 57.1 percent for the game, hitting 16 of 28 attempts.

The Cougars return to action Saturday at Martinsville. The final home game will be the team’s Senior Night, Feb. 26 against Plainfield.