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Woodmen boys struggle with height disadvantage, fall to Hawks

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After earning its first win of the season last weekend, the Greenwood boys basketball team hoped to carry over some momentum into Friday night’s game against visiting Decatur Central.

But momentum only took the Woodmen so far against the larger Hawks.

Class 4A Greenwood kept up early, but Class 4A Decatur Central pulled away in the second half to beat the host Woodmen 67-55 in the Mid-State Conference game.

Decatur Central, which started four players taller than 6-foot-3, was led by senior guard Anthony Johnson’s game-high 23 points. Hawks 6-foot-7 junior forward LuKayus McNeil added 12 points and a game-best eight rebounds.

Decatur Central (8-4, 4-0 Mid-State) shot 24 of 42 from the field (57 percent) and won the rebound battle 33-28.

The Woodmen (1-10, 0-4) shot just 36.5 percent but turned the ball over five less times than the Hawks.

Despite the loss, Woodmen coach Bruce Hensley applauded how his team never gave up.

“We had some guys really play hard tonight,” Hensley said. “We’re getting better as a team. We have a long way to go, but we’re getting better. I was happy with the fact we kept fighting and plugging the whole game.

“I thought our guys were definitely ready to play. But we just have a very small margin for error. We can’t make very many mistakes against a team like that.”

Junior Nate Jones led the way for Greenwood with a team-high 14 points and six rebounds. Junior Brandon Petty came off the bench to score 12 points on 4 of 7 shooting for the Woodmen.

Greenwood traded buckets with Decatur Central in the game’s opening minutes. But with the score tied at 7-all at the 3:55 mark, Johnson made three straight baskets for the Hawks.

Then at the buzzer, Johnson was fouled on a 3-point attempt. The Woodmen picked up a technical foul arguing the call. And Johnson made all five free-throws to help Decatur Central lead 20-7 heading into the second quarter.

Greenwood stepped up its defensive intensity and limited the Hawks to nine points in the next quarter. But the Woodmen trailed 29-21 at the break.

After halftime, Greenwood pulled within six points at the 6:17 mark of the third quarter but would come no closer. The Hawks outscored the Woodmen 18-11 in the period to pull away for the win.

Greenwood plays again Friday when it hosts Class 4A Shelbyville in a nonconference game.

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