By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Class 2’s top-ranked team loves to share the basketball, particularly its sophomore star who averages nearly 40 points per game.
Greenwood displayed some of that passing ability Thursday night in a 95-76 home win over Fordland. It was a matchup of previously unbeaten teams.
“We’ve got an unselfish team,” said Blue Jays coach Darren Taylor. “They’ll all pass to each other and I think that’s a big reason why we’re able to score.”
Blue Jays sophomore Aminu Mohammed finished with 44 points and, unofficially, 21 rebounds and six assists in front of a capacity crowd.
Mohammed, who moved to Springfield in August and enrolled at Greenwood, poured in 53 points in a road win over Billings on Tuesday night.
The Blue Jays (8-0 overall) are averaging 80 points per game.
“We were going to try to be more up-tempo coming into this season, then with the addition of Aminu it made sense that we should try to play fast,” Taylor said.
Greenwood led 42-34 at halftime, and pulled away for good in the fourth quarter. The Blue Jays led by as many as 20 in the final period.
Senior Garrett Litherland finished with 14 points and freshman Tommy Pinegar had 15 points.
Litherland feasted around the basket off feeds from Mohammed.
“(Aminu) definitely takes a lot of heat off of me because they’ll double-team him or have to have someone ready to help over,” Litherland said. “I’m usually open.”
Greenwood withstood a long-range barrage from Fordland, which also averages around 80 points per game.
The Eagles (6-1 overall) made 19 3-pointers in the loss. Jake Farnsworth scored a team-high 26.
Greenwood played its starting lineup for nearly the entire game. The Blue Jays didn’t make a substitution until midway through the fourth quarter, with the outcome in hand.
All five Greenwood starters scored in double figures.
“Our guys will pretty much shoot when they’re open. Sometimes, we shoot a lot faster than I’d like to when we have a lead and I’d like to get it just a little bit bigger,” Taylor said. “Sometimes, we’re one pass and shoot. I’m trying to get us to be more patient in game situations.”
Fordland faces Weaubleau this Saturday in a neutral-site game.
Greenwood plays at Osceola on Dec. 18 then competes in the Blue and Gold Tournament Dec. 26-29.
The Blue Jays, who finished 7-16 overall last season, are getting more comfortable with becoming a marquee team.
“It’s been kind of crazy because we were ranked already to start the season,” Litherland said. “With some of the new additions we’ve had, we had to figure out how to get the chemistry right. It’s been a process but we’re going to get there.”
Greenwood 95, Fordland 76
Fordland 19 15 19 23 — 76
Greenwood 25 17 21 32 — 95
Fordland – Jake Farnsworth 26, Brett Hyder 21, Joe Hart 11, Skyler Jacobson 9, Hunter Burks 7, Logan Fuchs 2
Greenwood – Aminu Mohammed 44, Tommy Pinegar 15, Garrett Litherland 14, Grant Harper 12, John Sharp 10