— The Greensburg boys basketball team jumped out to a large lead in Saturday’s regional championship game, then overcame a strong Brownstown Central rally to win 65-54 in the Washington Regional.
The Pirates, just hours after knocking off third-ranked Evansville Bosse, looked as loose and confident as they had all season against a top-five squad. Greensburg jumped out to a 15-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game.
Greensburg seventh-year head coach Stacy Meyer praised his team for avoiding an emotional let-down after an exciting win over Bosse.
“We had to win the first game, obviously, and the two games were totally two different games,” said Meyer. “We had that first game where it was an up-and-down game, and that second game was kind of grind-it-out. But there was so much hype for that first game. We win that game, and then you fear a let-down for that night game, and the kids didn’t. You couldn’t ask for a better beginning to a game.”
Junior Sean Sellers scored the game’s first four points, and junior Collin Rigney tacked on six straight points with back-to-back 3-pointers before the home-team Braves even scored. Following a Brownstown timeout, junior Macy Holdsworth hit his team’s third triple to make it 13-0. Sophomore Ryan Welage then scored while getting fouled, making it 15-0.
Brownstown senior Skylar Thompson finally got his team on the board at the 4:30 mark of the first period. A Holdsworth score was sandwiched between a Brave triple and a basket in the middle of a 7-2 Braves run.
Sellers' free throws, and a Holdsworth 3-ball at the buzzer, gave the Pirates a 22-10 lead after the first eight minutes. It was the type of lead the Pirates had grown accustomed to building all season.
Junior Bryant McIntosh took his turn in the second quarter, scoring four straight points to make it 26-11. Rigney later scored for a 15-point lead at 28-13 with 2:50 left in the half.
Less than a minute later, McIntosh converted a 3-point play to double up the Braves 30-15, and the first half ended 32-17.
Greensburg scored seven of the first nine points of the second half. McIntosh and Welage each scored, and McIntosh later hit a trey for a 39-19 lead – the Pirates’ largest of the game.
Thompson, a 6-foot-4 forward, heated up for six points in the third and the Braves hit a triple near the end of the quarter to pull to within nine at 45-36.
Another Brave score opened the final eight minutes to make it 45-38, but McIntosh and Sellers scored back-to-back for a 49-38 advantage.
Greensburg senior Tyler Burcham answered another Brave trey that pulled them to within seven at 49-41. Burcham converted a 3-point play, then added another free throw to make it a double-digit game again at 53-41.
Head coach Stacy Meyer saw his team’s opponent refuse to give up. Five straight points, including another trey, made it a seven-point game at 53-46 with 2:50 still left in the game.
Despite another pair of Brownstown treys, Greensburg hit 12-for-12 from the foul line in the double bonus. Pairs by Sellers, Welage, McIntosh, then Welage and Sellers again, held off the Braves' comeback attempts.
“Brownstown was a very good basketball team,” said Meyer. “They came back on us…but we had that cushion built so we could absorb that.”
Greensburg shot 20-for-28 (71 percent) from the stripe and hit five 3-pointers.
McIntosh led Greensburg with 17 points. Sellers scored 16, including 10-for-10 from the line. Welage added 10, including 4-for-5 at the stripe. Holdsworth scored 10 (including a pair of triples), Rigney scored eight (two treys) and Burcham chipped in four.
Junior Chaz Schneider led Brownstown with 20 points. Senior standout forward Brett McCory followed with 18. He and Schneider each hit four triples. Thompson added 14 and junior Chase Klinge chipped in two.
The Pirates scored a Class 3A regional-best 147 points. Mt. Vernon (Fortville), the Pirates’ next opponent, led the four Final Four teams in scoring in a 70-49 win over Frankfort for the regional title. Mt. Vernon, ranked No. 1 in the AP poll, is 24-1 and will face Greensburg Saturday in the Richmond Semi-State around 3 p.m.
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.