The Greenwood boys basketball team got off to an uneven start in its Friday night game at rival Whiteland, but it was able to find its footing when it mattered.
Three players scored in double figures and the Woodmen tightened up their defense in the second half to pull away for a 57-44 triumph.
“The game, sometimes, is about you,” Greenwood coach Joe Bradburn said. “You’ve got to figure out what you do well and analyze that, and we started finally doing that.”
Whiteland (4-6, 0-2 Mid-State) got some easy shots early and was able to jump ahead, 12-6, but turnovers prevented the home side from pulling away and the Woodmen countered with seven points in a row to take a one-point lead a minute into the second quarter.
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Consecutive 3-pointers from Riley Higdon, Luke Helton and Isaac Ebeyer put the Warriors back in front, 21-13, and they were able to stay on top through the break, going into the half with a slim 25-22 edge.
“They did a good job of attacking us early on,” Bradburn said, “and we settled down a little bit, but I thought it was more us in some spots — we weren’t rotating very well, we didn’t deny some players that we were trying to deny, and they took advantage of it and attacked us.”
The remainder of the night belonged to the Woodmen. Eric Moenkhaus opened the third period with a 3 to tie the game, part of an 11-0 run that allowed the visitors to take control. Greenwood (7-2, 2-1) was up by as many as 15 late in the quarter before settling for a 44-34 edge going into the fourth.
Whiteland got as close as eight early in the final period but couldn’t get over the hump, as 18 giveaways proved too much to overcome. Max Raker and Isaiah Drew had four steals apiece for Greenwood.
“We came out in the second half and defended like we know we can,” Greenwood senior Braydon Kincaid said. “Coach got into us and said, ‘You know what you can do; come out and do it.'”
Jeffrey Reynolds had 19 points in the first three quarters to lead the Woodmen, along with 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. Moenkhaus added 16 points, while Kincaid filled up the stat sheet with 15 points, 10 boards, four assists and three blocks.
Brennan Neal and Higdon finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Warriors.
The two teams will turn around and face one another again Tuesday in the first round of the Johnson County tournament.