Braydon Kincaid’s buzzer-beating layup seemed to sit on the rim for an eternity, unable to make its mind up about whether it wanted to go in and help the Greenwood boys basketball team force overtime or allow Shelbyville to escape with the win.
Eventually, the ball rolled off to the left, spoiling a furious last-ditch comeback bid by the Woodmen and giving the visiting Bears a 71-69 triumph.
Down by nine with under two minutes to go, Greenwood (8-8) came storming back behind Kincaid, who scored 13 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter. A Jeffrey Reynolds basket with 17.5 seconds to go cut the deficit to 69-66, and when Eric Moenkhaus hit a 3-pointer with eight ticks on the clock, the Woodmen — who were helped by Shelbyville missing eight fourth-period free throws — were within a point at 70-69.
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Josh Williams made one foul shot with 4.9 seconds left, and Kincaid quickly pushed the ball up the other way and got to the basket in time, but it was not to be.
“We played 10 times harder in the last minute than we did the whole game,” Kincaid said. “We finally started to defend. We didn’t defend the whole game — we let a team score 70 on us. If we defend and play hard like we did the last minute the whole game, we’ll be tough to beat.”
The Bears (10-6) came out hot from long range, hitting five 3-pointers in the first quarter to take the early lead. Seven points apiece from Kincaid and Adam Rapp kept the Woodmen close, however, with the deficit just three, 19-16, after the opening quarter.
Greenwood came back in the second and briefly pushed ahead 29-28 on a bank shot by Reynolds with 3:05 remaining. But Shelbyville closed with a flurry, reclaiming the upper hand just seconds later on a Cooper Lewis 3 and finishing the half with 11 unanswered points. John Lux hit a 3-pointer just seconds before the buzzer to give the visitors a 39-29 cushion.
Still down by eight, 51-43, with 1:40 left in the third quarter, Greenwood was able to fight back by working inside. A stepback bank shot by Reynolds cut it to six going into the fourth, and the Woodmen scored the first nine points of the final period, taking a 54-51 lead on a three-point play by Moenkhaus at the 5:47 mark.
Shelbyville, though, had a bit more left in the tank. Lewis’ fourth 3-pointer of the night put the Bears back in front, 57-54, with 4:04 to go, and after buckets by Lewis and Lux and four Zach Kuhn free throws stretched it to 65-56, the Woodmen were forced into desperation mode.
It nearly worked. A late flurry by Kincaid got the home side back within striking distance at 67-64 with 40.2 seconds to go, setting up the dramatic final act.
“You can’t put yourself in that position and then say, ‘OK, let’s try to win it here in a minute and a half,’” Greenwood coach Bruce Hensley said. “We had opportunities, got back in the game, actually got the lead, and then we got impatient again.”
Reynolds totaled 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Woodmen, while Moenkhaus added 11 points, all after halftime. Lux and Lewis had 17 points apiece for the Bears, and Kuhn contributed 16. Each team’s starting lineup accounted for 69 points.