Greenwood’s boys basketball team appeared to be in a nearly ideal situation in
the closing seconds of Tuesday’s home matchup against Beech Grove.
The Woodmen trailed by three points but had the ball with seven seconds remaining. They had hit 7 of 12 3-point attempts in the contest.
Their biggest weakness in the game, however, showed itself on that final possession, as well.
They worked the ball near the 3-point line on the right side with about 3 seconds to go, but Beech Grove’s Matt Baughman deflected a pass and batted it away for Greenwood ’s 22nd turnover of the night.
The Woodmen didn’t get a shot off, and the visiting Hornets held on for a 52-49 nonconference win.
Greenwood coach Bruce Hensley said the Woodmen were trying to free Justin Conley for a 3-pointer off a staggered double screen, but Baughman foiled the play.
“It was a tough situation,” Hensley said of the last play. “We turned the ball over way too much. We played hard, but they played more physical than we did, and that created the turnovers.”
The Woodmen (2-6) handled the Hornets and their 2-2-1 full-court pressure adequately in the first half, committing just eight turnovers en route to a 19-18 halftime lead.
Beech Grove (3-3), however, turned up the pressure in the second half, forcing nine Greenwood miscues in the third quarter. It scored eight straight points off turnovers in the midst of a 12-0 run in the third quarter, turning a 25-23 Woodmen lead into a 35-25 Beech Grove advantage.
“We don’t have a lot of size, so our strengths have to be effort and energy,” Beech Grove coach Matt English said. “It was good to see Baughman be aggressive and not let them get a shot in the air (on the last play).”
Greenwood survived Beech Grove’s third-quarter surge, responding with eight straight points of its own.
The Woodmen rallied to tie the game 39-all on a pair of Spencer Isenthal free throws with 5:04 left, but Beech Grove responded with a Garrett Page layup and a pair of Chase Andries free throws to build its lead to 43-39 with 2:51 remaining.
The Woodmen never caught up with the Hornets after that.
Beech Grove appeared to have iced the game after Tommy Pich’s free throw with 23.6 seconds left gave the Hornets a 52-46 edge, but Greenwood’s Alex Rapp hit a 3-pointer, his fifth of the game, with 15 seconds to go.
Beech Grove threw the ball away 8 seconds later, setting up the Woodmen’s futile final attempt.
Rapp hit all but one of his 3-point tries en route to a game-high 15 points for Greenwood. Isenthal added 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, and Conley scored 11. No other Woodmen player scored more than four points.
Jordan Boyd and Pich shared team-high honors for Beech Grove with 11 points each, while Marcus Rush added 10 off the bench.
Hensley said the Woodmen need to pay better attention to detail if they want to improve upon their 2-6 record.
“We do some good things, but we have some limitations,” he said. “We played hard and we never gave in. We got down 10 and got right back in the game. In the last four minutes, (Beech Grove) just made a few more plays.”
The Woodmen return to action Saturday at Center Grove.