Greenwood battled back from an early double-digit deficit Friday night at Decatur Central but couldn’t quite complete the come-back.
The result was a 43-35 loss against the Mid-State Conference rival Hawks.
The Woodmen started slowly, as turnovers and a streak of uncontested 3-point shots by the Hawks (2-10, 1-3 Mid-State) combined to put Decatur Central up 11-2 after the first quarter.
Greenwood Coach Bruce Hensley said the struggling Woodmen (3-8, 0-4) do not have the luxury of spotting opponents wide leads.
“The game of basketball in its simplest form is about putting the ball in the basket,” Hensley said. “We held a team to 43 points and couldn’t win. That tells you something.
“We have to take better shots than we do.”
Greenwood’s defense improved over the next two quarters, allowing it to get back in contention. Slowly but steadily, the Woodmen drew within striking distance, with 16 points from senior Jaren Hornbeak leading the way.
Down the stretch, the Woodmen produced a couple of key defensive stops and twice had the ball with the chance to tie the game, but the crucial possessions ended with a turnover and a missed 3-point shot, respectively.
The Hawks, who had no scorers in double figures, made some vital foul shots to pull away at the end.
Hensley credited the Woodmen for not folding but lamented the poor start.
“The first four minutes of the game ended up being the difference,” Hensley said. “We have offensive liabilities, and to go down 11 is not something we can afford to do. I’ll give them credit. They kept fighting and chipping away, but we could never quite get over the hump.”
The Woodmen made only 11 of 51 shots from the field.
For Decatur Central, 6-foot-7 center Lukayus McNeil had 11 rebounds. Shane Roberts led the Woodmen with nine boards.
Greenwood plays again next Friday at Shelbyville.