Daily Journal sports correspondent
A combination of size, speed and athleticism proved too much for Greenwood to overcome Tuesday night in a 69-39 loss to visiting Southport.
The Class 4A No. 5 Cardinals (19-2) won their seventh consecutive game while extending Greenwood’s losing streak to nine.
“That’s a really good team,” Greenwood coach Bruce Hensley said. “Against them, you have to give up something.
“Our kids did a good job of doing what we wanted them to do. I’m really pleased with our effort tonight, and I’m proud of the way we played.”
The Woodmen (3-17) focused their efforts on stopping Southport center Joey Brunk, and for the most part, they were successful. The 6-foot-10 forward/center grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds but scored only 11 points.
“You can’t take away everything they do, so we tried to take away Brunk,” Hensley said. “Unfortunately for us, they were able to hit their outside shots.”
Brunk had nine points and eight rebounds in the game’s decisive opening half but struggled in the third and fourth periods.
Fortunately for Southport, sophomore Paul Scruggs picked up the offensive slack. The 6-3 guard led all scorers with 23 points while connecting on 10 of his 18 shot attempts. He also registered eight rebounds.
The Cardinals held a 16-point advantage after the opening period and built a 38-15 halftime lead by hitting 15 of 31 shot attempts. However, the Woodmen maintained their composure and actually outscored Southport 13-12 in the game’s final period.
“When we were patient, we did some good things,” Hensley said. “We had some good looks but didn’t make some of the shots we should have.”
The Woodmen were limited to four field goals during the game’s first two periods.
Senior Ethan Smith led Greenwood with nine points, all from behind the 3-point arc. Senior Spencer Isenthal added eight points, while freshman Jeffrey Reynolds and junior Justin Conley each chipped in seven points.
“It was good for us to play against a team like that,” Hensley said. “It was an especially good experience for our freshmen.”
The Woodmen travel to Mooresville on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. game.