DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
Friday night’s boys Mid-State Conference game between Decatur Central and Greenwood will not go down in the annals of the rivalry as an aesthetic masterpiece.
Neither team shot better than 30 percent from the field. A total of 43 fouls were called, resulting in 48 combined free throws. Greenwood turned the ball over 20 times. And there were precious few opportunities for either team to establish any flow on offense.
But Decatur Central (4-8, 2-2 Mid-State) cashed in at the free throw line and grinded out a 59-34 win against the host Woodmen.
Playing shorthanded, the Woodmen turned the ball over on six of their first seven possessions and found themselves in a quick 9-2 hole.
Greenwood cut the lead to three points late in the first quarter, but Decatur Central remained in control of the rest of the way. Despite numerous opportunities to blow the game open, though, the Hawks could not put the Woodmen away. The Hawks were ice cold from the field, hitting only 16 of 54 shots from the field (29.6 percent).
The difference was at the free-throw line.
Although Greenwood began shooting free throws after Decatur Central’s seventh foul of the first half at the 7:39 mark of the second quarter, it was the Hawks who had the advantage from the line. They knocked down 24 of 35 free throws for the game, compared to just 7 of 13 for the Woodmen.
As has often been true this season, Greenwood (3-11, 0-4) struggled to score, as well. Playing without seniors Isaac Stogsdill and Spencer Isenthal, the Woodmen connected on 13 of 47 field goal attempts (27.7 percent), hitting just one of 18 3-point attempts.
Coach Bruce Hensley said the Woodmen continue to make errors that have plagued them all year.
“We’ve got to change the way we play,” he said. “We’re still making the mistakes that we’re constantly talking about and we have to get rid of. We have to get better mentally.
“We have to expect to win, and I don’t know that we expect to win right now.”
Hensley added that he had no complaints about how hard the Woodmen played.
“Our effort is OK. (Decatur Central) didn’t play any harder than us, and earlier in the year that was an issue for us,” Hensley said. “It’s not anymore.”
Justin Conley and Jeffrey Reynolds each scored 10 points to pace Greenwood. The lone bright spot for the Woodmen was on the backboards. On a night when there were plenty of opportunities, Greenwood grabbed 40 misses to 39 for Decatur Central. Reynolds led with a game-high 8 boards.
Antoine Divine led the Hawks with a game-high 15 points. CB Bennett joined him in double figures with 12.
The Woodmen will host Shelbyville on Jan. 30.