DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
As the only senior starter for the Greenwood boys basketball team, much falls on Justin Conley’s shoulders.
He’s been up to the task.
“I can’t put a measuring stick on what he gives us right now,” Woodmen coach Bruce Hensley said. “He just gives us so much on the floor, not just his play but his leadership and just keeping us together out there all the time.
“I’m happy with how he’s leading and how he’s playing both.”
Conley, a three-year starter, and sophomore Eric Moenkhaus each scored 14 points to lead a balanced scoring attack in the Woodmen to a 59-49 victory against host Beech Grove on Tuesday night.
The Woodmen won their third game in a row to improve to 4-4.
“I think we’ve played a lot harder defense than we had in the beginning of the year,” Conley said. “We have a lot of young guys didn’t have a lot of varsity experience coming into the season.”
But once they got some game experience, Conley said they began playing tougher.
“The sophomores allow me to lead them, so it’s really easy for me,” Conley said.
Conley said anyone can score so that takes the pressure off of him offensively.
“It’s just next man up every game,” Conley said.
Sophomore Max Raker added 13 points for the Woodmen. Jeffrey Reynolds, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, chipped in with nine points, and sophomore Braydon Kincaid scored eight.
“We can put five guys on the floor who have the capability of scoring,” Hensley said. “I think that’s why we’re difficult to defend. If you only have one or two scorers, you can do things to take them away. That’s hard to do against us.
“We have five guys that are very capable of scoring, and I think that’s why we’re playing well offensively now.”
Raker scored seven points in the first quarter help the Woodmen take a 21-12 lead over Beech Grove (1-5). Greenwood boosted the lead to 32-20 at halftime by holding an 11-8 advantage in the second quarter.
Raker added six points in the third quarter as the Woodmen expanded the lead to 46-30.
“Max played really well offensively,” Hensley said. “It’s good to see him being very cautious. You can see him working on the things we are talking to him about, which as a coach really pleased you. He always brings great effort.
“We got a big lift from him in the third quarter offensively.”
Hensley was pleased with the overall execution.
“We came out and played the way we needed to play and the way we wanted to play,” Hensley said. “I thought our effort was really good. We made some mistakes, but some of our mistakes were because we were being aggressive. We made some mistakes because we were tired.”
Junior Chase Andries was high for the Hornets with 13 points. Sophomore Jalyn Curry added 10 points coming off the bench. Curry had one of Beech Grove’s three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as it made the final score a bit closer.
“We got three in a row now, and that is going to help anybody, especially your young kids,” said Hensley, whose team will host Center Grove on Dec. 30. “You’ve just got to keep building on it.”