Greenwood’s superior size finally got the best of Catholic’s long-range shooting.
Six-foot-five sophomore Riley Keith had a game-high 17 points – including the final five of the contest – as Greenwood beat Catholic for the ninth season in a row, this time 59-52 Friday night at Drury’s O’Reilly Family Event Center.
“(Catholic) played awfully hard and they had us right where they wanted,” said Greenwood coach Darren Taylor. “It’s kind of like the last three or four (meetings) between us have went, just a bounce or two in the fourth quarter. We’re just fortunate the ball bounced our way.”
Catholic led 46-42 entering the fourth quarter, but the Irish went scoreless until Tyler Johnson’s trey tied the game 49-49 with 3:40 to go.
Catholic and Greenwood then traded back-to-back 3-pointers, tying the game at 52 apiece with less than three minutes remaining.
Greenwood took the lead for good (54-52) on its next possession with a basket from 6-foot-3 senior Nathan Carmichael.
Catholic missed a shot and committed a pair of turnovers on its next three possessions. After Greenwood came up empty twice as well, Keith would grab his own miss near the rim and convert a 3-point play to put the Blue Jays ahead 57-52 with 43.6 seconds remaining.
Trailing by five, Catholic missed a trio of 3-point attempts its next time down the floor. Keith finally grabbed the rebound on the third miss, got fouled, and sank two free throws to seal the win.
Taylor said Greenwood focused on working the ball inside to its post players, Keith and Carmichael, in the second half. On the other end, Greenwood tried to take away Catholic’s best asset – 3-point shooting.
“They shoot the ball so well that we were really just trying to cover the perimeter,” Taylor said. “We had two or three players that we wanted to especially know where they were at and control them. Against them, the long shots cause long rebounds and you’ve got to run the ball down. I think our kids did a good job of not giving up offensive rebounds.”
Catholic’s tallest players were 6-foot-2 starter Tyler Ast and 6-foot-3 reserve Jacob Deragowski. Irish coach Tony Armstrong tried to implement a fast-paced game based on forcing turnovers.
“It was obvious, they were going to score when they got the ball inside,” Armstrong said. “We were hoping to turn them over and wear them out.”
Armstrong praised the point guard play of Greenwood freshman Austin Carmichael, who finished with 14 points.
“I thought he played really well at the point,” Armstrong said. “He handled the ball, didn’t turn it over, and broke us down on defense at times. He’s gonna be a good player.”
Greenwood 59, Catholic 52
Greenwood 16 18 8 17 --- 59
Catholic 16 15 15 6 --- 52
Greenwood – Riley Keith 17, Nathan Carmichael 15, Austin Carmichael 14, Caleb Morlan 13
Catholic – Ryan Haller 11, Will Hennesse 9,Tyler Ast 8, Brayton Ballenger 8, Tyler Johnson 7, Jacob Deragowski 4, Isaac Gray 3, Danny Richardson 2