It didn’t go according to script, but Greenwood Christian Academy managed a double-digit win Wednesday in the opening round of the Class A Edinburgh Sectional, beating Baptist Academy 58-47.
Having defeated the Chargers 62-21 in regular-season play, the Cougars might have hoped for an easier time/ But Jamie Satre’s team found itself in a hotly contested scrap that, while not close at the end, never quite seemed comfortable.
The game was tied early in the third quarter before Greenwood Christian Academy pulled away to a 14-point lead in the second half.
The Chargers battled back with a furious fourth-quarter rally, cutting the lead to as little as six points with less than two minutes remaining.
Greenwood Christian Academy iced the outcome with some key offensive rebounds by Alexander Brown and foul shots by Jared Davenport and Braden Murray.
Satre said he preached to his young team not to take the Chargers lightly, despite the small southside school having gone winless in the regular season.
“We told them you can’t overlook this game, but it’s hard when you have outside influences talking to you about how they haven’t won and that we beat them by 40 last time,” Satre said.
“I knew it would be the opposite, that they would have some sort of plan and come out really intense.”
The plan from coach Bobby Brown’s Chargers was to get the ball in the hands of Joshua Clanton as much as possible. The 6-foot-2 forward repeatedly drove the lane against the Cougars, scoring a game-high 24 points, including 10 from the foul line.
Satre said this was the biggest tactical struggle the Cougars went through on the evening, citing inexperience in tournament play as one reason why.
“We have to give a better effort, certainly on defense. We talked to them about making Clanton not go right every time, and to be intense every time down the floor,” Satre said.
“But it’s tough to win in a sectional atmosphere for kids who mostly have never played in this environment. I’m happy to win, but at the same time I know the next game is going to be tougher.”
Greenwood Christian Academy (8-15) enjoyed balanced scoring on the night with a trio of seniors and one junior reaching double figures. Murray led the way with 14 points, followed by Mark Gibson with 12, Davenport with 11 and Brown with 10.
Brown led the Cougars with nine rebounds, followed by Noah Shingleton with eight as Greenwood Christian Academy owned the boards by a 27-13 margin.
Satre said he told the team it must be more intense Friday but credited his team with being resolute enough to stay alive in the tournament despite the spirited upset bid from Baptist Academy.
“I’m proud of our guys that they kept fighting, but we need more of a fire in our bellies next time. I know they can do that,” he said.