Cougars stay hot with lopsided win over Rushville

0
1158

Greenfield-Central’s Braylon Mullins scores over two Rushville defenders. Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. (Tom Russo | Daily Reporter)

By Brady Extin | Daily Reporter

[email protected]

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield-Central boys basketball team knows their identity, and they don’t stray from it. They shoot the three, and play tough defense.

They did both of those things to near perfection on Wednesday night in an 80-37 rout of the visiting Rushville Lions.

“That’s who we are. Greenfield-Central basketball, we’re going to play a zone, and we’re going to shoot threes,” Greenfield-Central head coach Luke Meredith said. “We show up an hour before school every single day to practice those things, and that’s what we hang our hat on, three and D.”

For a team that is no stranger to scoring – averaging just under 60 points per game – Wednesday night’s effort was their best of the season.

The Cougars’ 53 first-half points, and 80 point total, were both season highs.

The story all season, but even more so of late over the team’s four-game win streak, G-C caught fire from the 3-point line early, and never slowed up.

The Cougars knocked down 11 3-pointers, and shot 45% from three. Both those marks fall just short of topping season highs set in the previous game against Lawrenceburg where they shot 12-24 from deep.

“We’re shooting the ball well. I thought we were a little bit flat in the first quarter defensively, but we were sticking shots,” Meredith said. “We shot 57% from three in the first half, and our big guns [Dylan] Moles and [Braylon] Mullins both had 20 points, so for us, we’re sharing the ball, playing hard, and we just have a really good culture at this time.”

Defensively, in the opening quarter, the Cougars allowed Rushville to score 16 of its 37 points.

Easy breakdowns of the G-C full-court press by Rushville led to easy baskets, and a back-and-forth first quarter.

The Lions were able to work the ball down low for easy baskets to Kameron Morton, Dylan Thompson, and Nick Jarman, and when that was covered, XxZavien Jenkins connected on two 3-pointers.

After the first quarter, the G-C defense went back to doing what it’s been known to do.

A more active press led to multiple Rushville turnovers and easy Cougars baskets on the other end.

“We just talked about ‘juice’ and that it can’t just be a slogan on a t-shirt. They [Rushville] weren’t going to roll over,” Meredith said. “They’ve got a pretty good big, a pretty good guard, and they want to win too. I just think we played harder, were more aggressive, got some deflections, and were just more active.”

Helping provide that change was the Cougars’ spark plug off the bench — Owen Anderson.

Anderson, who returned from injury in the Cougars’ previous game and had just two points, helped increase the G-C lead with his best offensive display of his young season.

In a 27-20 game, Anderson came off the bench and connected on two quick 3-pointers to push the G-C lead to 33-20 and force a Rushville timeout.

That was the beginning of a 26-3 G-C run to close out the first half.

“Owen’s that kid that brings a spark, not only in games but in practice. That’s just who he is. He’s got an edge to him, and we’re glad to have him back,” Meredith said. “He’s going to play hard, stick shots, and be able to help spread the floor. He’s definitely going to bring some juice for us off the bench.”

Anderson trailed just Moles and Mullins on the scoresheet with 13 points.

The pair led G-C in scoring with 20 points each. Mullins was responsible for a trio of the 3-pointers, and Moles added two.

The Cougars increased the lead to 34 points midway through the third quarter, and from that point on, were able to rest both Moles and Mullins the remainder of the game.

The remainder of the starting five – Tyler Kerkhof, Braden Robertson and Will DeJarnett – all followed those two to the bench shortly after.

The Cougars are now off until January 6 when they face off against Hoosier Heritage Conference and Hancock County rival Mt. Vernon.