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Next step: Cougars try to extend season again

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Greenwood Christian Academy’s boys basketball team approached last week’s Edinburgh Sectional hoping to make history.

The Cougars did so in triplicate.

Coach Jamie Satre’s senior-dominated squad posted the program’s initial postseason victory and followed it up with a first-ever sectional semifinal win. Then came a two-point win against Waldron in the championship game and pieces of net for everybody.

The week that was is a week not soon to be forgotten.

“It’s awesome,” Satre said, summing up the feelings of the entire Greenwood Christian community. “We’ve been excited thinking how our season is getting longer and longer.”

Having gotten past Southwestern (Shelby), Lutheran and Waldron, Greenwood Christian sets its sights on yet another first — Saturday’s Class A regional at Martinsville.

Greenwood Christian appears to have saved its best for last with wins in 10 of its past 12 games.

However, even with Greenwood Christian sporting the regional’s best record (18-5), Satre believes there remains plenty of work to be done in practices this week.

“Having three games in four days, you kind of start to fall back into some bad habits. This allows us to get back to basics,” he said.

One area that requires little, if

any, ironing is the Cougars’ all-for-one mindset.

The ninth-year coach admired the way his players shared the basketball during sectional play. The three wins produced three different leading scorers in Tad Thompson’s 27 against Southwestern, Morgan Booher’s 20 in Friday’s romp against Lutheran and Lucas Peters’ 20 in Saturday night’s 44-42 thriller against Waldron.

Led by the 17.3 points averaged by Peters, a 6-foot-1 senior guard, at Edinburgh, the Cougars’ balance was also evident by the contributions of Thompson (13.7), the 6-3 Booher (11.3) and the 7-point averages of 6-3 Gunnar Rastenburg and 6-4 guard Jacob Stephenson.

“We talked going into sectional about sacrifice and taking what the defense gives us. I’ve been really proud of how the guys have played hard every single game and been more intense,” Satre said.

“We don’t care how we win; we just want to win together. If we can keep that mentality, that’s going to make us tougher to beat than if we have just one or two players doing the scoring.”

Saturday’s regional contains no clear-cut favorite, as not one of the four programs converging on Martinsville was ranked in the final Class A poll.

Even so, there is no shortage of tradition.

Greenwood Christian’s opponent in Saturday’s first semifinal is Indianapolis Metropolitan, which won a Class A state title in 2011. Clay City, which battles Oldenburg Academy in the noon second contest, has captured the White River Valley Sectional four of the past six seasons.

The Eels are the only regional qualifier Greenwood Christian hasn’t faced this winter. The Cougars pounded Metropolitan 83-68 in the season-opener on Nov. 26 but lost at home to Oldenburg 60-54 on Feb. 24.

Oldenburg Academy makes its regional debut after winning the South Decatur Sectional.

Based on proximity (Greenwood Christian is only 23 miles from Martinsville High School) and last week’s impressive display of support, the Cougars hope to again be fueled by their fans.

“We couldn’t have (won sectional) without them,” Booher said. “It really shows how much they care because nobody leaves early, and they’re loud. And it got really loud that last game.”

Booher is one of six seniors on Satre’s roster. It’s a group that over the past three seasons has experienced its share of big wins and disappointing losses.

None of them wants the dream season they’ve worked so hard to construct to end anytime soon.

Martinsville on Saturday. Just maybe a road trip to Richmond or Seymour the following week to play for the right to take part in the Class A state championship game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

“Winning sectional meant so much more because we also had good teams the last few years. This has a lot to do with us having unselfish players and having different guys step up the last few games,” Booher said.

“Before the season started we had a goal to make it to state. We’re not going to be happy until we achieve our goals.”

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