GREENFIELD — Every aspect of a Greenfield-Central boys’ basketball team, that is firing on all cylinders right now, was on display Friday night inside Dellen Automotive Gymnasium.
In a Hoosier Heritage Conference matchup, the Cougars (13-1, 5-1) defeated the visiting Pendleton Heights Arabians (4-12, 0-5) 76-44 to win their 10th straight game.
“We have a great culture here. ‘Juice, compete, standards’ is just a slogan on a t-shirt if you don’t live it and believe it. This year we’ve kind of had a don’t hope to win, refuse to lose mentality, but once again those are just slogans,” Greenfield-Central head coach Luke Meredith said. “We have a great culture, and a great group of kids that have been with me since I got this job four years ago that have now grown into roles. I just love coaching this team.”
The phrase, firing on all cylinders, may fit the entire team right now, but nobody more so than sophomore Braylon Mullins.
Coming into the night over the last three games, Mullins had put up 27 points against Eastern Hancock, and 25 points against both Shelbyville and Shortridge on a combined 10-for-15 from 3-point range.
On Friday night, he topped all those marks.
He scored a career-high 31 points on 12-for-14 shooting and 7-for-9 from 3-point range.
“I feel like it’s just more of the confidence piece right now. I show up every morning to shoot, and I feel like I get better every single day.” Mullins said. “The shot feels good, and I don’t feel the pressure on me like the first couple games, so I’ve just got to keep shooting.”
In an 11-6 game late in the first quarter, it was Mullins sparking a 15-0 G-C run with a 3-pointer off of a behind-the-back pass from senior guard Dylan Moles.
Moles added two layups over the scoring run, but it was Mullins knocking down two more 3-pointers and a layup that really pushed things out of the Arabians’ reach.
“He’s always had it in him. He’s a dog. There’s a reason why colleges are clamoring for him,” Meredith said. “He’s shooting the ball well. He believes in himself and we’ve always believed in him, and he’s just playing phenomenal right now.”
The duo exploded for a combined 22 second-quarter points, with Mullins going 4-for-4 from 3. Moles finished the game second to Mullins with 17 points.
“It’s hard to simulate their length, speed and athleticism,” Pendleton Heights head coach Adam Ballard said. “They’re a good team, and Luke has them playing at a really high level.”
That length and athleticism caused the Arabians’ guards issues all night long.
At the top of both the Greenfield-Central press and zone, it was Mullins disrupting the Arabians’ offensive attack with a game-high six steals.
“The biggest adjustment for him from freshman to sophomore year has been his defense,” Meredith said. “He causes chaos at the top of our zone and press. He’s long and lengthy and is just playing with a ton of confidence right now.”
As a team, the Cougars had 15 steals. Senior Tyler Kerkhof had three, and both Moles and junior Braden Robertson had two.
“When you have 23 turnovers, you don’t have an opportunity to guard them,” Ballard said. “A lot of those are run outs, and they’ve just got good basketball players. When you give a team free opportunities like that, they’re going to capitalize.”
With Moles and Mullins on the bench for the fourth quarter, it was senior Owen Anderson and junior Jake Hinton closing things out for the Cougars, each scoring six points in the period.
Anderson finished 4-for-6 from 3-point range and was third on the team in scoring with 14 points. Hinton finished with 6.
Evan Mozingo led the Arabians with 13.
Greenfield-Central is back in action today in the Muncie Central tournament. They face Bishop Chatard at noon and will play in either the consolation (6 p.m.) or championship game (8 p.m.) later.
Greenfield-Central 76, Pendleton Heights 44
Pendleton Heights;6;19;9;10; — ;44
Greenfield-Central;21;30;11;14; — ;76
Pendleton Heights (4-12, 0-5): Josiah Gustin 3 0-0 7, Evan Mozingo 5 0-0 13, Isaac Wilson 2 0-0 5, Dontrez Braxton 0 0-0 0, Hunter Suchyna 1 0-0 2, Caden Sims 2 1-1 5, Aaron Cookston 3 0-0 6, Brayden Kanitz 2 0-0 4, Joe Estes 0 2-2 2, Reese Caplinger 0 0-0 0, Chase Eikenberry 0 0-0 0, Keaton Jones 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 3-3 44.
Greenfield-Central (13-1, 5-1): Dylan Moles 8 1-2 17, Braylon Mullins 12 0-0 31, Tyler Kerkhof 1 0-0 2, Will DeJarnett 1 0-0 2, Braden Robertson 1 0-0 2, Owen Anderson 5 0-0 14, Jacob Hinton 3 0-0 6, Boston Willard 0 0-0 0, Nathan Gasparrini 0 0-0 0, Dallas Freeman 0 0-0 0, Dylan Nance 0 0-0 0, Ian Jack 0 0-0 0. Totals: 31 1-2 76.
3-point goals: Pendleton Heights 5 (Mozingo 3, Gustin 1, Wilson 1), Greenfield-Central 11 (Mullins 7, Anderson 4)