RICHMOND — With roughly 11 seconds left on the clock, Greenfield-Central sophomore Dylan Moles hauled in Wednesday evening’s closing defensive rebound alongside the baseline and nonchalantly dribbled up the courtroom.
The elation inside the Tiernan Middle grew because the final remaining ticks wound down finalizing Greenfield-Central’s 72-59 victory over rival New Palestine in the course of the Class 4A Sectional 9 quarterfinals in Richmond.
The dirty roulette followers stood and cheered whereas the scholar part jumped round and echoed their help in anticipation of an on-court celebration.
Moles didn’t break his focus or stride. Neither did junior Gavin Robertson, who hovered close by within the backcourt.
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As soon as the ultimate horn sounded, the Cougars’ bench and among the on-court gamers rushed in the direction of their classmates within the stands because the decibels boomed.
Moles and Robertson didn’t be part of the festivities.
As an alternative, the duo shook fingers with the previous back-to-back sectional champion Dragons, who headed to their locker room, after which adopted go well with, exiting with no single high-five or fist pump.
The victory was momentous with out query, but it surely wasn’t the tip aim.
It wasn’t a sectional championship. One thing the Cougars haven’t captured since 1998 in Shelbyville when this system was categorized 3A.
Previous to Wednesday, the Cougars (14-9) hadn’t crushed the Dragons (14-9) in 5 consecutive conferences and trailed within the general sequence 28-27 relationship again to 1984-85.
The Dragons defeated the Cougars 68-58 on Dec. 11 in the course of the regular-season, so Greenfield-Central’s opening-round upset punctuated a milestone with New Palestine profitable 17 of its 21 prior conferences in opposition to their county rival.
The final time the 2 applications met within the postseason, New Palestine prevailed, 60-45, within the 2018-19 sectional event in Richmond.
In state event contests, the Dragons held a 7-3 file versus the Cougars earlier than Wednesday evening and hadn’t endured defeat in a gap sectional sport since dropping to Indianapolis Crispus Attucks, 59-50, in 2015-16.
Moles and Robertson finally let unfastened after the victory, however they waited till they reached the locker room, behind closed doorways, the place Cougars head coach Luke Meredith and his crew launched 4 years of frustration in two phrases: “Let’s go!”
Unable to safe a sectional win since 2016-17, the Cougars introduced the “juice” to advance into tonight’s second sectional semifinal at 8 p.m. in opposition to one other rival in Hoosier Heritage Convention co-champion Mt. Vernon (15-6).
On Wednesday, the Cougars charged again from an preliminary five-point, first-quarter deficit to guide by 11 at halftime and by no means let up regardless of a second-half Dragons’ comeback try.
Greenfield-Central’s 72 factors marked its highest offensive output of the season.
A ten-2 run within the second quarter gave Greenfield-Central a 17-14 lead, and a 12-2 run heading into halftime made it 29-18 with the Cougars in place to enact some revenge.
“We’re this crew that everybody has been informed for therefore lengthy that we will’t do one thing and we slayed the dragon. We obtained the monkey off our again,” Meredith mentioned. “It began final yr with this group, and now this yr it has carried over and we’ve had some success and we’ve received extra video games than anybody thought we might.”
A 12-12 crew in 2019-20, the Cougars haven’t received greater than a dozen video games since going 20-5 in 2015-16.
In opposition to the Dragons, the Cougars utilized effectivity and grit to proceed their upward development.
Greenfield-Central has gone 4-1 since Feb. 12 and has amassed an 8-3 file over the previous six-plus weeks to put up its greatest single-season wins complete in Meredith’s two-year tenure.
Their victory march on Wednesday was initiated by Moles, who had a game-high 20 factors on 5 of 8 taking pictures. He was 9-for-12 from the free-throw line with three steals and 5 assists.
The 6-foot-1 guard knocked down a vital jumper with 37.8 seconds remaining earlier than the fourth quarter to offer Greenfield-Central a 43-39 lead, and the Cougars continued the run within the fourth.
The Cougars’ 9-3 run halfway by means of the second half elevated their result in 50-42, which they adopted up with a 7-0 swing to fend off the Dragons.
The Cougars’ protection sparked the offense. Because of this, the Dragons dedicated 9 first-half turnovers and dedicated 18 second-half fouls.
Robertson had 19 factors with 15 scored within the first half, together with consecutive transition layups off steals from Adam Lester and Moles to cap a 22-point second quarter.
New Palestine shot 37 % from the sector within the first half (6 of 16), whereas the Cougars by no means dropped beneath 50 %. Greenfield-Central transformed 11 of 21 makes an attempt from the sector within the first half (52 %) and had been 10 of 17 (58 %) within the second half.
The Dragons completed at 44 % taking pictures general behind a 15-of-31 conversion charge within the second half (48 %), however Moles and the Cougars by no means trailed after deadlocking the sport 12-all.
A Robertson 3-pointer off a Rashawn Road swing go on the perimeter with 5:59 left within the second quarter tied it up, and a Caleb McIntire trey with 4:10 on the clock broke a momentary 14-all stalemate.
“There was a play within the fourth quarter the place the ball was trickling out and (New Palestine’s Eli) Stephens was the one one who may get it, and there have been three white jerseys on it first,” Meredith mentioned. “That’s the definition of Greenfield-Central basketball.”
Selfless is one other program attribute with three gamers in double-figures and a mixed 22 of 28 free throws made, together with 17 of twenty-two within the fourth quarter.
Joey Roland had 12 factors whereas going 6-for-6 from the foul line within the fourth quarter. Road added eight factors and went 3-for-4 from the stripe. Lester had 5 factors (2-for-2 on free throws). Will VanDuyn had 5 factors on 2 of two taking pictures within the third quarter.
The cohesive manufacturing countered New Palestine’s Steele Brasfield’s team-high 15 factors.
New Palestine turned a 37-21 deficit right into a one-possession sport with 1:15 remaining till the fourth quarter as Brasfield accounted for eight of the Dragons’ 12 factors throughout a 12-2 run within the third quarter.
Brasfield’s dagger 3-pointer chipped away on the Cougars’ lead, 39-37, and a mid-range jumper later narrowed the margin 41-39.
However, the Cougars refused to be denied. Not this time. Not with one other large sport in entrance of them.
“We’re hyped for Mt. Vernon. Nobody remembers a crew that wins one sport at sectional,” Moles mentioned. “They solely keep in mind who wins all of it, so we wish that one simply as unhealthy.”
Greenfield-Central misplaced to HHC co-champion Mt. Vernon, 57-52, in Fortville on Jan. 8 en path to a fourth-place end within the convention.
The Cougars bested the Marauders, 44-39, in the course of the 2019-20 common season to snap a four-game dropping streak in opposition to their rival.
Mt. Vernon (6-1 HHC) received its second straight sport and sixth in its previous 9 within the first quarterfinal contest on Wednesday evening in opposition to host Richmond, 40-34.
“That’s going to be the problem. Our children are so jacked. We had our principal are available in (the locker room) and joked with them and mentioned, ‘No faculty (Thursday).’ He was clearly joking, however our youngsters will face the identical factor, once more. We’re going to be double-digit canines,” Meredith mentioned.
“They’re the favourite. They’re the most effective crew in our convention. They’ve some dudes, however we solely misplaced by 5 the primary time we performed them. And identical factor. We’ve nothing to lose.”
Class 4A Sectional 9 Quarterfinal
Greenfield-Central 72, New Palestine 59
NEW PALESTINE (14-9): Eli Stephens 2 0-0 5, Blaine Nunnally 2 3-4 8, CJ Oliver 2 2-3 7, Steele Brasfield 5 2-3 15, Matthew Brown 4 1-1 9, Kyle Bastian 3 0-0 8, Ian Stephens 3 1-1 7, Damon Hockett 0 0-0 0, Eian Roudebush 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 9-12 59.
GREENFIELD-CENTRAL (14-9): Gavin Robertson 7 2-4 19, Dylan Moles 5 9-12 20, Joey Roland 3 6-6 12, Adam Lester 1 2-2 5, Will VanDuyn 2 0-0 5, Caleb McIntire 1 0-0 3, Rashawn Road 2 3-4 8. Totals 21 22-28 72.
3-Pointers: NP 8-23 (E. Stephens 1, Nunnally 1, Oliver 1, Brasfield 3, Bastian 2). G-C 8-15 (Robertson 3, Moles 1, Lester 1, VanDuyn 1, McIntire 1, Road 1).