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Cougars among favored teams in balanced sectional

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Greenwood Christian Academy enters the Class A Edinburgh Sectional with the best record in the eight-team field.

All of which means absolutely nothing.

Understandably proud of the 15-5 regular-season record, ninth-year Cougars boys basketball coach Jamie Satre figures it’s time for Greenwood Christian to finally make a dent in March.

Since joining the IHSAA in 2006-07, Greenwood Christian is winless in seven sectional games.

The scores have progressively gotten closer, in accordance with Satre’s teams getting better.

After enduring a 91-30 beatdown at the hands of Morristown in 2007, the ensuing seasons whittled away at such lopsided margins — 2008 (35 points), 2009 (21), 2010 (17), 2011 (13), 2012 (4) and 2013 (2).

The sting of last season’s 47-45 first-round loss to Baptist Academy hurt all the more once the Chargers went on to capture their first sectional title in only their third season of IHSAA affiliation.

This year’s Greenwood Christian squad is recipient of a somewhat favorable sectional draw.

The Cougars play in tonight’s 7:30 p.m. game against Southwestern (Shelby) (4-14), a team it defeated 70-57 on Jan. 4. An elusive first postseason “W” would mean a Friday semifinal match-up against the Lutheran-Baptist Academy winner.

Greenwood Christian defeated Baptist Academy twice over the course of the regular season but in December came up short against Lutheran 40-33.

“I really like our draw, but I’m optimistic every year. We’re not overconfident. We can’t afford to be,” Satre said. “We have a lot of skill and a lot of talent on our team, but we still have to show up.”

Six seniors, four of whom start, make Greenwood Christian one of the sectional’s most seasoned outfits.

Lucas Peters, a 6-foot-1 senior guard, is having a season to remember. His 22.6 scoring average bumped up after his past two games — 30 and 45 points against Oldenberg Academy and Irvington Prep Academy, respectively.

Peters’ latter production vaulted him over 1,000 career points to his current 1,030. He is the second Greenwood Christian player top 1,000 points. Kyle Stidom, a 2012 graduate, finished with 2,059 points.

In the Cougars’ past six games, Peters averaged 29.2 points and shot just less than 60 percent from the field (62 of 104). Half of those baskets were 3-pointers, with Peters knocking down 31 of 60 attempts (.517) from long range during that stretch.

Morgan Booher, a 6-3 senior, provides an 18.3 scoring average to go along with his 2.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists. Jacob Stephenson, a 6-4 guard, has per-game averages of 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds, and 6-3 forward Gunnar Rastenburg averages 4.9 points and 5.5 boards. All three players are seniors.

Others contributing meaningfully to what the Cougars hope is a breakthrough season are senior Tad Thompson (5.1 ppg), 6-2 junior Alec Brown (3.1), 5-10 senior guard Zach Tyra (1.6) and juniors Mark Gibson (1.6) and Noah Shingleton (1.2).

Greenwood Christian enters the postseason averaging 67.3 points a game, second-most in program history behind the 2010-11 Cougars (70).

“We’ve definitely had some big wins, but there were a couple of disappointments, too,” Peters said. “Going into sectional we’re definitely going to be confident and ready to play.”

Getting Greenwood Christian’s program to where it is now wasn’t easy.

The Cougars, prior to their IHSAA affiliation (2001-2006), won one of 14 games. The majority weren’t remotely close, a 117-9 loss at Howe in 2005 the most glaring example.

However, since November 2010 Greenwood Christian has assembled a record of 57-27 (.679). Only Edinburgh (67-23, .744) has been more impressive among Johnson County boys basketball programs during this time.

The Edinburgh Sectional has seen five different Class A programs take home pieces of net in only the past seven years.

Greenwood Christian soon attempts to make it six in eight.

“I think with this group, we knew it would be solid. This is the first time we’ve had a big group of seniors, and they’ve definitely done well. It’s just their love of basketball and their ability to listen. The players are really attentive to what the coaches want them to do,” Satre said. “We just want to make sure we get that first (sectional) win, and it won’t be easy.

“Southwestern has some good players who shoot the ball well. We know they’re not going to be scared of us.”

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