Turns out Yogi Berra was right. It is, indeed, not over until it’s over.
Jeffrey Reynolds scored 16 points and put in a short bank shot with 2.8 seconds left to cap a furious comeback over the final 1:33 and lift Greenwood to a 53-52 triumph against Perry Meridian on Wednesday night.
Facing a 52-47 deficit, the Woodmen (8-6) began their closing push with a Reynolds putback at the 1:14 mark. Max Raker then scored on a driving layup and was fouled with 14.2 seconds to go. Raker missed the free throw to tie, but after Perry Meridian’s T.J. Comer missed the front half of a one-and-one on the other end, Reynolds charged upcourt and into the paint, positioning himself perfectly to put the decisive shot off the glass and in.
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Greenwood coach Bruce Hensley told his team that if they got the ball back down two or less, he was not going to call a timeout.
“The problem is, if you take timeout to set something up, you allow them to do something,” Hensley noted. “They might change defenses or whatever, and I just think our best option with the players we have was to get it and try to get to the rim, and Jeffrey did a good job of that.”
Braydon Kincaid got a hand on Comer’s desperation try from halfcourt at the buzzer to seal it.
Early on, the Woodmen were able to move the ball at will against Perry Meridian’s defense, repeatedly finding cutters going to the hoop for layups. Greenwood, which picked up assists on five of its first seven field goals, put together 13 consecutive points over a 3:04 span to take a 16-6 lead late in the opening quarter.
The Falcons (4-8) tightened up defensively, though, and that enabled them to get untracked on offense as well. A Dillon Miller 3-pointer got things going in the second period, when Perry Meridian used an 11-0 surge to pull back in front, 24-20. Greenwood nearly went the final 4:43 of the half without scoring, but Adam Rapp’s deep 3 with three seconds left on the clock ended the drought and made it a one-point game at the break.
Greenwood led by three, 47-44, with 4:40 remaining in the fourth before the Falcons regained the upper hand with an 8-0 burst, capped by 3-pointers from Miller and Semaj Danley. Perry Meridian, though, missed all four of its free throws in the final quarter, leaving the door ajar for the Woodmen.
The home club took full advantage — and Greenwood has now won four of five after a slow start.
“I think we’re playing better right now than we’ve probably played all year,” Hensley said, “so we just need to stay the course and keep working and trying to get better, and hopefully around tourney time we’re going to be a hard team to play.”
Greenwood used just six players and got all of its points from its starting five. Eric Moenkhaus finished with 11 points, Kincaid had 10, Raker nine and Rapp seven. Reynolds added nine rebounds and four blocked shots, and Kincaid dished out five assists.
Nate Mills had a game-high 17 points for the Falcons.