DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
Greenwood battled Mooresville throughout most of Friday’s Mid-State Conference game, hanging tough into the third quarter before dropping a 71-48 decision to the Pioneers.
The win gave the Pioneers a share of the Mid-State Conference title with Martinsville. Both teams close league play with 5-1 records.
Greenwood finished league play with an 0-6 record and is 3-18 overall.
Woodmen coach Bruce Hensley applauded his team’s effort against offensively strong Mooresville, which improved to 17-3.
“They are a really good offensive team,” Hensley said. “I don’t care who they play, they’ve got five guys on the floor who are capable of scoring, and they are tough to defend.”
Mooresville’s offense featured strong cutting off the ball and precise passing to set up a number of close-range field-goal attempts. In the second quarter, the Pioneers began to add some fast-break baskets to their attack.
The Woodmen had some success finding their taller players — Spencer Isenthal, Paul Proctor and Ethan Smith — for looks under the basket but were hurt when Isenthal picked up a third foul midway through the quarter, as Greenwood went on to fall behind 32-25 at halftime.
Mooresville began to stretch the game out in the third quarter, scoring on a number of fast breaks to forge a 15-point lead after three quarters, with more of the same in the final quarter.
Buoyed by all the close-range looks, the Pioneers shot just under 60 percent from the field, making 31 of 52 field-goal attempts.
Balanced scoring was another asset for the Pioneers, with Kendrick Underhill scoring a game-high 14 points, and Landon Harder and Lane Weaver scoring 13 each.
Hensley said his team was effective on offense early on with some good back-door cuts of its own, but the Woodmen couldn’t keep it going.
“In the middle part of the game they started extending and we started to hurt them a little bit, but that’s a hard team for us to stay with because no matter hard we defend, they are still going to score some points, and then we struggled to score enough points to stay with them,” he said.
Ethan Smith scored 10 for Greenwood, with Isenthal and Braydon Kincaid scoring nine points each.
Hensley said he is pleased with the progress of some of his younger players on the squad, even as they battle through mistakes such as 16 turnovers on the night.
“After the game we look at it say ‘This is what you need to do better.’ All of our young kids work hard,” Hensley said. “They make mistakes sometimes and it bothers them and we want it to bother them, but they are going to be OK.”
Greenwood (3-18) hosts Indian Creek on Tuesday.