For the Daily Journal
For three quarters, it looked like the Greenwood boys basketball team would let this one slip away, but with a league title on the line, senior Eric Moenkhaus decided to put his team on his back.
Moenkhaus scored 12 of his game-high 32 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Woodmen to a thrilling 56-53 win against Mooresville on Friday.
By beating the Pioneers, the Woodmen wound up in a three-way tie with Decatur Central and Franklin for the Mid-State Conference championship — their first the 2005-06 season.
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First-year Greenwood coach Joe Bradburn was happy with a share of the title, something he didn’t think possible back in January, when the Woodmen lost to Decatur Central.
“We’re playing a lot better now,” Bradburn said. “We struggled at first, but we talked and stayed focused and had some stability on defense at the right time.”
One thing Greenwood didn’t do was panic, even when it fell behind 47-38 early in the fourth quarter.
That’s when Moenkhaus went into action.
“My teammates did a great job of taking care of the ball, and when I got it, I was just open and was able to hit the shots,” Moenkhaus said. “We really started to find our rhythm on both offense and defense.”
Moenkhaus sank two 3-point shots in the fourth, and he hit four free throws in the quarter and 11 overall in the second half.
The game started out in ragged fashion with both Greenwood (13-6, 4-2) and Mooresville missing several shots. The Pioneers, however, got on track and started hitting their shots enough to take a 10-point lead at one point.
“We didn’t panic; we had a sense of urgency,” Moenkhaus said.
Also helping was junior Isaiah Drew, who also dropped in two key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, the last with a 1:15 to play to give the Woodmen the lead for good at 51-50.
The Pioneers hit a 3-point shot with 10 seconds left to again come within one, but two free throws by Moenkhaus with 8.2 seconds left sealed it.
Drew finished with 12 points.
It was the Woodmen’s fourth straight win, a streak that has come at the perfect time with three games left before the start of the sectional tournament.
“You can’t beat that,” Bradburn said. “We talked about the title prior to the game and it was something we wanted. There’s a lot of parity in this league. We got a break and took advantage of it.”