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“We tried to get the ball in [Keith’s] hands, but they started doubling down on him. This gave us some good shots [outside],” said Greenwood head coach Darren Taylor of the strategy in the first quarter.
“We maybe took some shots… too quickly after receiving the ball, [but] I think, for a freshman point guard, Austin just does a spectacular job,” said Taylor.
The Warriors response came as a barrage of layups by Chance Smart. They also had early success with second quarter 3-pointers from their leading scorer, Jarred Schrader.
“We definetly wanted to keep their inside game down, but they hit a lot of 3s,” said New Covenant head coach Mike Foley. “Really, Schrader did a good job; he was knocking down shots when we needed to and Cassity did a good job inside.”
Greenwood took a narrow, 14-13 lead coming out of the first quarter, but New Covenant had tied the score up, 28-28, by halftime.
Starting the third quarter, New Covenant took control of the game’s momentum as Schrader opened up with two consecutive 3’s. The Warriors took an eight point lead five minutes into the quarter and closed it out ahead, 43-38.
The fourth quarter started with a three pointer by Austin Carmichael followed by a quick turnover that gave the ball to Keith for a game-tying layup. This was a sign of things to come as Keith went on to push past the New Covenant defense and pick up a 3-point-play that reestablished the Greenwood lead.
“It was a tough game and they played us rough but [in the fourth quarter] I just started making my layups. I wasn’t making my layups in the first quarter and third quarter, so I just started making them,” said Keith.
The Jays were careful to control their energy for the remainder of the half. They slowed the game down with an effective passing strategy and opted to pick up points by forcing New Covenant to foul.
“Coach Taylor… is a great coach and he frustrated us all night every time we changed up he had an answer for us and we just couldn’t get up top,” said Foley about the Greenwood fourth quarter strategy.
Greenwood took the win, outscoring New Covenant 22-11 in the fourth quarter. This included nine points from Keith, eight points in free throws, and 3’s from Mason Priest and Austin Carmichael.
Greenwood, now 15-8, plays its last game before entering their district tournament at Hurley on February 14th. New Covenant stands at 15-6 and plays at Everton next on February 12th.
Greenwood 60, New Covenant 54
New Covenant 13-15-15-11---54
Greenwood---Riley Keith 19, Nathan Carmichael 13, Caleb Morlan 13, Austin Carmichael 11, Mason Priest 3, Adam Brock 1.
New Covenant---Jarred Schrader 14, Chance Smartt 12, Sam Lincoln 11, Austin Cassity 11, Joshua James 4, Corey Weimer 2.