DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORESPONDENT
Responding to a challenge from its coach after a flat sectional performance Wednesday, Greenwood Christian Academy excelled in every area of the game Friday for a convincing 80-69 victory against Morristown in Friday’s Class A semifinal of the Edinburgh Sectional.
The Cougars will play in tonight’s sectional final against Lutheran, a 53-49 overtime winner against Waldron in Friday’s first game. The Cougars lost to the Saints 58-55 in December.
Greenwood Christian dominated all phases, forcing Morristown into a poor field-goal shooting performance, winning the battle of the boards and scoring a flurry of transition baskets in forging a 20-point halftime lead that grew to 25 points midway through the third quarter.
Foul trouble and a late rash of turnovers for the Cougars allowed the Yellow Jackets to cut into the lead during the fourth quarter, but the outcome was never seriously in doubt.
“The guys responded very well and played with real intensity tonight,” Cougars coach Jamie Satre said. “They executed the game plan perfectly and just did a really good job.”
Greenwood Christian enjoyed a rebounding advantage, besting Morristown 51-19, with Noah Shingleton leading his team with 12 caroms. Alexander Brown and Braden Murray each pulled down eight rebounds, and for each of the team leaders, a number of the boards were offensive.
The Cougars once again had balanced scoring on the night. Murray led the way with 15 points, followed by Shingleton with 14, Jared Davenport with 13 and Brown with 10.
The scoring came primarily from two sources: lightning-fast perimeter passes to set up short jumpers, and offensive rebound baskets due to the Cougars’ superiority on the glass.
Additionally, Greenwood Christian refrained from committing any turnovers in the first quarter and had less than 10 for the game before a lapse of concentration late in the contest with the game decided.
But the Cougars defense forced the Yellow Jackets to less than 30 percent shooting from the field, and even lower than that for the first half.
Freshman Hayden Langkabel led Morristown with 20 points, but most of those came after the Cougars had forged a 25-point lead.
“We knew (Langkabel) liked to go to the hoop, so we wanted to stay in front of him as well as we could, and also to edge out toward their shooters and keep them from getting set,” Satre said. “They did a great job for most of the game at that, but we can always get better.”
With tonight’s sectional final being a rematch, Satre recalled the first encounter as being “a weird game,” which included one of the Greenwood Christian’s players being ejected on a disputed call.
“It was an interesting game, but the main thing is that game was a long time ago,” Satre said. “We’re a different team now.”