This may be new to the Greenwood Christian Academy boys basketball team, but winning its first sectional championship has left the Cougars hungry for more.
Before the Class A sectional at Edinburgh got started Tuesday, Greenwood Christian hadn’t won a sectional game since joining the Indiana High School Athletic Association in 2006-07.
But the Cougars fulfilled a dream by winning three straight, including a 44-42 victory against Waldron on Saturday night in the championship game.
With the win, Greenwood Christian (18-5) advances to the Martinsville Regional to meet Indianapolis Metropolitan at 10 a.m. Saturday. The other regional semifinal features sectional winners Oldenburg Academy (13-9) against Clay City (18-6). The Cougars defeated Metropolitan 83-68 in the season-opener back on Nov. 26.
Coming off victories against Southwestern and Lutheran, Greenwood Christian had to withstand a last-minute rally by Waldron.
Senior guard Lucas Peters, who finished with a team-high 20 points, got the winning basket with 10.2 seconds left to break a 42-42 tie.
“I was going to pass it up, but all of a sudden things opened up and I was ready to shoot. We know we have something special here. We’re all brothers and we didn’t want this to be our last time on the court. We love each other and we don’t want this to end,” Peters said.
“We’ve kept working every year and used those previous sectional losses as fuel, and now we’re here and on top.”
The Cougars led at the end of each of the first three quarters.
But the Mohawks (9-13) refused to go away in the final period after falling behind 38-30 with a little more than three minutes remaining.
Each time Waldron fell further behind, junior guard Logan Macaluso almost single-handedly brought his team back.
Finishing with a team-high 20 points, Macaluso converted three 3-point plays by driving the basket and getting to the free-throw line. He also added a 3-pointer to open the final quarter to keep Waldron within three points.
Macaluso’s layup tied the game at 42-all with 40 ticks left on the clock.
A missed 3-pointer by Cougars’ senior guard Morgan Booher gave Waldron an opportunity to go ahead, but a loose ball resulted in a tie-up and Greenwood Christian was able to get a time-out.
This set up the game-ending dramatics when Peters took an inbound pass and dribbled the length of the court. He maneuvered his way down in the left corner, reversed himself and pulled up for a successful 8-foot jumpshot.
“I had a feeling he was going to take it on his own,” said ninth-year coach Jamie Satre.
“We were going to space things out a little, but that’s senior-type stuff there. Our seniors really came through for us this year and especially these last three games in a huge way. They’ve all grown up.”
Waldron did get a shot to tie it at the buzzer on a six-foot jumper in the lane by senior center Kyle Garner, but the attempt rolled off the rim.
What came next was a lengthy celebration in which no one wanted to leave the court after the final horn.
Booher, the Cougars second-leading scorer who was held to five points, was left standing with a sea of family and friends at midcourt.
His smile said it all.
“All the heartbreaks of the past have made us want it even more so we could have this moment, and now it feels awesome,” Booher said. “There are no individuals here. We are brothers, and we want to win as a team.”