Another slow start for Greenwood was the difference in its 66-61 boys basketball loss Friday night at Shelbyville.
The Woodmen battled back from a first-quarter double-digit deficit and had a shot at tying the game in the final seconds, but coach Bruce Hensley was left bemoaning the game’s beginning.
“If you look back at the game, that’s where we were defeated, right there at the beginning of the game,” Hensley said. “We just got down so far early. I give our kids a lot of credit. At one time we were down 15 in the first half and we fought our way back with a chance to get it tied.
“You can’t ask much more of them than that, but we need to start better.”
Played in Garrett Memorial Gymnasium, the game began with Shelbyville hitting three consecutive 3-point field goals en route to a 9-0 lead.
The Golden Bears’ lead increased as the first half went on, but Greenwood began cutting into the margin late in the second quarter and throughout the second half. This led to standout guard Jared Hornbeck hitting back to back 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter for the Woodmen, to cut the margin to five.
By that time Shelbyville was in the bonus and was shooting well from the foul line. Still, a pair of late misses allowed Hornbeck to hit another 3-pointer to cut the lead to 63-61 with 24 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing inbounds, Shelbyville broke the press and Greenwood fouled John Lux, who made just one of two free throws. That gave Greenwood a chance to tie, but an open 3-pointer from Zach Zaiser was off target and Shelbyville escaped with the win.
Hornbeck led all scorer with 29 points and nine rebounds. Brandon Petty added 16 for the Woodmen. Adam Eads led Shelbyville with 18.
Greenwood (3-9) was coming off a loss to Decatur Central last week, after which Hensley lamented his team’s bad shot selection. He gave the team better marks overall for this game.
“We just had a much better effort tonight,” he said. “We need to play with the effort we played with tonight, every night. If we do, I think things will be OK. That’s the big positive.”
Hensley cited improved man-to-man defense as a reason the Woodmen were able to fight back to within striking distance.
“(Defensively), sometimes we do a nice job and other times we have lapses,” he said. “I thought tonight, especially when we went man to man, I thought we defended better. We’d been getting beat a lot off the dribble earlier this season and that’s why we started playing more zone, just to stop that.
“Tonight we got behind and so we went man to man, and I thought we played much more physical. We guarded the ball better.”
Shelbyville (4-9) broke a five-game losing streak. Greenwood has now lost seven of eight games and plays Saturday night at Roncalli.