When playing unselfishly, Greenwood is as capable of winning the Johnson County Boys Basketball Tournament as any of the so-called favorites.
The Woodmen repeatedly demonstrated this Tuesday night.
Defeating visiting Franklin 63-51 in a first-round game allowed coach Bruce Hensley’s program to snap an eight-game losing streak to the Grizzly Cubs.
Story continues below gallery
Equally as important, it qualified Greenwood (6-5) for Friday’s 6 p.m. semifinal opener against Center Grove (6-4). The second game at Whiteland features the defending champion Warriors (7-2) against Indian Creek (8-3).
The Woodmen moved on courtesy of a 12-0 scoring run over the game’s final 3:13. It’s here junior swingman Eric Moenkhaus scored eight of his game-high 24 points.
Many of Moenkhaus’ points came off nifty feeds from teammates. The same can be said for junior post Jeffrey Reynolds’ 14, a total duplicated by junior guard Braydon Kincaid.
“We’re playing much better together and much more for each other,” said Hensley following the first Woodmen win against the Cubs since a 56-53 decision early in 2010-11 season. “As long as we do that, I think we’ll be in a lot of ballgames.
“I thought the last five minutes we played very smart. I thought we took care of the ball and got the shots we needed to get.”
Greenwood was sitting on a 3-4 record before a 19-point home victory against Speedway on Dec. 28.
From there, the Woodmen played Center Grove extremely tough (a 58-52 loss) on the road and then returned home to down Whiteland.
“The win against Whiteland, that gave us all our confidence,” Moenkhaus said. “Being more unselfish has definitely been a key focal point for us as a team.”
Asked what flipped the switch, Moenkhaus smiled.
“Coach yelling at us in practice,” he said. “Seeing the film and seeing how it looks when we’re not playing as a team. We just need to get all of us involved because we’ve learned that it works.”
Franklin (6-4), which plays Edinburgh in the fifth-place game at Whiteland on Saturday, was led by the 13 points of junior guard Reece Thompson. Sophomore guard Cory Richards and 6-foot-2 freshman backup Drew Byerly added nine and eight, respectively.
Senior Hunter Gross tied Reynolds for game rebounding honors with seven.
The Grizzly Cubs shot .404 from the floor (21 of 52) and even worse at the free throw stripe (3 of 11).