Slow start costs GCA in sectional semifinal

Daily Journal correspondent

A poor first quarter and second-half mental lapses were costly Friday night for the Greenwood Christian Academy boys basketball team.

The result was a 61-46 loss against Morristown in a semifinal game of the Class A Edinburgh Sectional.

The loss was the fifth straight for Greenwood Christian, which ends the season 6-18.

Morristown won its third straight game and takes a 12-11 record into tonight’s championship final against No. 9 Arlington.

Bad starts have been a familiar story for Greenwood Christian coach Jamie Satre.

“We have had rough starts all year long,” Satre said. “Getting down early doesn’t help, and it didn’t (Friday), but our guys are scrappers and we did fight back.”

Morristown, which beat Central Christian 69-41 in Tuesday’s first round, raced to an early 8-0 lead and limited the Cougars to five first-quarter points.

Thanks to accurate outside shooting and smothering defense, the Yellow Jackets stretched the lead to 27-9 lead in the second quarter.

“Morristown has some good guard play,” Satre said. “They hurt us.”

Greenwood Christian opened the second half with a sense of urgency, forcing Morristown into turnovers. But the Cougars had a difficult time capitalizing after making stops.

On multiple occasions, Greenwood Christian failed to take advantage of seemingly easy scoring opportunities that could have substantially trimmed the lead early in the third period.

“That killed us,” Satre said. “We couldn’t take care of the ball.”

Still, the Cougars didn’t give up.

They cut the lead to 36-31 late in the third quarter and had momentum on their side. But a pair of turnovers within a five-second spurt halted the momentum. The problem was magnified when 6-foot-5 senior center Krae Sparks picked up his third foul and had to come out.

Morristown ended the third quarter on a 5-0 run. The Yellow Jackets controlled the game the rest of the way.

Senior Jared Davenport led the Cougars with 17 points. Senior teammate Hunter Slater had 12.

Sparks came back in the game to finish with 11 points.

Morristown was led by sophomore Eli Streeval with 22 points. Hayden Langkabel added 18.

The loss ended the Cougars’ streak of reaching the sectional final.

“We were confident we could return,” Satre said. “We’re losing four seniors, but our future looks bright.”

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Ken Severson is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.