Gators’ hot shooting leads to tight win at South Warren
When Greenwood is hitting shots, it’s hard to beat.
The Gators – whose offense has come alive as of late – were on top of their game Friday and put together an impressive shooting performance, leading themselves to a hard-fought 71-69 win over South Warren at South Warren High School.
With the victory, Greenwood has now clinched a spot in the No. 2 vs. No. 3 semifinal game in the upcoming District 14 Tournament.
“It’s a great feeling. It’s the same thing that we had two years ago,” Greenwood guard Jack Roberts said. “It’s a great feeling to know that you can just come in there and play one game – and you never know what’s gonna happen in that game. It’s a good possibility that we can go to region.”
Greenwood (11-11, 4-3 District 14) – which shot 62.5 percent in the opening half and continued to send the ball through the net throughout the entire game – earned double-digit performances from four different players. While Roberts led the way with 20 points, Ben Carroll finished with 16, Noah Stansbury scored 14 and Cade Stinnett added 11.
The Gators led 23-15 after the opening quarter and took a 42-26 lead into the locker room at halftime. South Warren battled and battled in the second half and did everything it could to jump in front, but Greenwood was able to make free throws down the stretch and hold off the Spartans.
“First, we had Jack out (with a broken hand) and then we finally got ourselves to where we were playing pretty good, then Jack comes back and now we’ve gotta integrate him back into the thing and change our whole offense again,” Greenwood coach Bob Pels said. “It took us three or four games to get that down.
“Give Jack credit – he’s really been trying to get into it – and in the last three games he’s done it.”
The Spartans (9-14, 2-5) – who earned the No. 4 seed in the district tournament and will meet fifth-seeded Warren East in the play-in game – were led by Jace Carver’s game-high 35 points. While Carver made eight 3-pointers and carried South Warren, Tyler Martin scored 14 points and Caden Veltcamp tallied 11.
Greenwood was firing on all cylinders from the start, quickly building a 7-3 lead at the 5:16 mark of the first quarter after Carroll made a 3-pointer. Martin made a triple of his own to bring South Warren within 9-8, but Roberts soon knocked down a 3, was fouled and converted the and-one to make it 18-10 at the 2:28 mark.
A pair of Roberts free throws – followed by Stansbury’s 3 just before the buzzer – had the Gators leading 23-15 after one.
Greenwood’s run carried over into the second quarter as back-to-back buckets from Roberts and Carroll made it 30-15 early into the period. Veltcamp’s score brought the Spartans within 35-23 at the 3:25 mark, but Roberts and Stinnett scored on two straight possessions to put the Gators up 40-24 – and they soon led 42-26 at the break.
“I was so impressed with how we came out,” Pels said. “Here we are in an odd climate and we come out with 42 points in the first half. We played really well. Our shot selection was mostly good, so I can’t complain.”
The Gators remained hot throughout the ensuing half.
Stinnett’s pair of foul shots pushed Greenwood’s lead to 49-31 at the 4:50 mark of the third quarter, and another set by him made it 53-37 just under two minutes later. Trailing by 16, South Warren responded by scoring five straight to cut its deficit to 58-47 entering the fourth.
Carver continued to light it up in the final frame, scoring five quick points – including splashing his seventh triple – to push the Spartans’ run to 10-0 and bring them within 58-52. Greenwood answered with a run of its own to push its lead back to double digits at 62-52 with 5:55 remaining.
“We just didn’t defend tonight like we have been,” South Warren coach Blane Embry said. “(Greenwood’s) really been scoring the ball well lately and put up points on just about everybody. We’ll just have to prepare for the next two weeks. That’s all you can do.”
Once down 10, Carver soon nailed another 3 – and then scored inside on the very next play – to bring the Spartans within 65-63 with 1:58 left. Veltcamp knocked down a clutch pair of free throws shortly after to make it a one-point affair at 66-65 with 1:07 left to tick.
Clinging to a one-point lead, Roberts made a clutch set of free throws – and – to help the Gators hold off South Warren and earn a marquee district victory.
“It’s coming together. It’s coming together now,” Roberts said.
Both teams return to action Tuesday as South Warren hosts Warren East and Greenwood welcomes Logan County into “The Swamp.” Both games are scheduled to tip-off at 7:30 p.m.
Greenwood – 23 19 16 13 — 71
South Warren – 15 11 21 22 — 69
GHS – Jack Roberts 20, Ben Carroll 16, Noah Stansbury 14, Cade Stinnett 11, Parker Williams 9, Peyton Loggins 1.
SWHS – Jace Carver 35, Tyler Martin 14, Caden Veltcamp 11, Parker Stobaugh 5, Jonathan Hill 2, Gavin Spurrier 2.
South Warren girls hold off Lady Gators, 61-53
Behind three different players finishing in double figures – led by Brooke Stevenson’s 20-point outing – the South Warren girls’ basketball team earned a hard-fought 61-53 win over Greenwood on Friday evening at South Warren High School.
The Spartans (13-9, 6-1 District 14) built a near 20-point lead late in the first half, but Greenwood stepped up in the second half, made big plays and stormed back to get within single digits in the fourth quarter.
Thanks to clutch free throws down the stretch, South was able to hold off the Lady Gators (10-12, 2-5) and earn a big district victory.
“I thought Greenwood really, really fought there late,” South Warren coach Lane Embry said. “They didn’t lay down at all – and that’s totally a credit to them. The one thing I told the girls is that usually we can always count on getting defensive stops and tonight we didn’t late. A district win is always good, but there’s some things that you can learn from it.”
While Stevenson led the way for the Spartans, Natalie Pierce scored 15 points and Taylor Enlow added 13.
Carly Miller registered a double-double of 23 points and 15 rebounds for Greenwood, while Jacqueline Jackson tallied 21 points.
Both teams return to action Tuesday as South Warren hosts Warren East and Greenwood welcomes Logan County into “The Swamp.” Both games are scheduled to tip-off at 6 p.m.
Greenwood – 10 9 13 21 — 53
South Warren – 19 17 12 13 — 61
GHS – Carly Miller 23, Jacqueline Jackson 21, Megan Une 6, Hailey Gordon 3.
SWHS – Brooke Stevenson 20, Natalie Pierce 15, Taylor Enlow 13, Hallie Parish 5, Lexi Button 4, Jessica Bush 4, Embry Weaver 2.