Greenwood holds on for 85-83 double overtime win over Monroe County
Senior Night is a night that every high school basketball player should remember and cherish, but Greenwood senior Luke Littrell and his fellow Gator seniors will especially look back on their senior night and remember a truly great occasion.
Greenwood played host to a very tough and disciplined Monroe County team, but the Gators were able to hit clutch shots and free throws to persevere with an 85-83 double overtime victory over the Falcons on Tuesday night in an instant classic.
“We’re just proud of the team for the way they performed down the stretch and keeping their legs in overtime,” said Littrell, who was second on the team in scoring with 17 points.
The Gators (15-13) led 45-30 with 4:41 left in the third quarter after a three-point play by Gee Floyd, but the Falcons outscored Greenwood 16-6 in the final few minutes of the frame to narrow the deficit to 51-45 going into the fourth.
Monroe County (17-9) was able to tie it at 51-all on a 3-pointer by Tucker Kirkpatrick, and the Falcons took the lead on a three-point play by Chandler Clements.
Greenwood answered right back with a four-point play by Littrell to re-gain the lead, and that set the stage for a back-and-forth end to regulation—Gator sophomore Ben Carroll netting two free throws with 9.7 seconds left to force overtime with the two teams tied at 61.
“A 15-point lead is nice and we made a run, but a team like Monroe County is going to make a run right back,” Greenwood coach Bob Pels said. “Down near the end of the game we kept punching back and punching back, and that’s the big improvement with this team. Earlier in the year I don’t think we would have done this.”
But that would not be the only time Pels’ Gators would overcome adversity and answer right back.
With his team trailing 71-69 late in the extra session, Greenwood junior Jack Roberts drove into the teeth of the Monroe County defense on the right side and floated a shot in the cylinder with eight seconds left to extend the game for another four minutes.
“It wasn’t really designed,” said Pels about the setup of the scoring play. “We sort of have a series of things that we do, and the first one that’s available we take. I’m not sure if you design a play at end of a ball game it’s going to work so you have to have three or four options, and Jack is a pretty good option for us.”
Like Pels, Littrell also had confidence that Roberts was going to come through in the clutch.
“You can always count on Jack to make the big shots,” Littrell said. “He has ice in his veins.”
Roberts would hit another gut-check shot in double overtime, netting a 3-pointer to give Greenwood a lead that it would not relinquish.
The Gators were able to get the win in double overtime thanks to 9-of-10 sniping from the charity stripe in the frame, with freshman Noah Stansbury taking the load in the initiative by hitting the mark on 7-of-8 attempts.
“He’s an amazing free throw shooter,” Pels said. “We expected them to go in..it’s kinda nice. He’s a hard-working kid, and he’s going to be a terrific player.”
Roberts topped all Gator scorers with 22 points while Littrell and Carroll added 17 apiece. Carrol provided a nice outside presence for the Gators in the win as the big man stepped out to drain three shots from three-point land.
Floyd and Stansbury each tallied 11 in the win, and senior Noah Nash rounded out the Gators’ scoring with seven points.
Monroe County was led in the loss by Billy Michael Dyer with a game-high 29 points while Clements added 25.
Kirkpatrick finished with 17, and Ty Mink and Ben Massingille each poured in six.
The Falcons will close out the regular season at Warren East on Thursday night before opening up the 15th District Tournament with Allen County-Scottsville on Tuesday night at Glasgow.
Meanwhile the Gators will conclude their regular season with a road game at Logan County on Thursday night and a home game against Edmonson County on Friday night.
“We got two games left,” Pels said. We get one of those and we have a winning season this year, which was a really nice big goal for us. It’s not a great goal, but you take it one step at a time.”
Greenwood will then host South Warren in the first round of the 14th District Tournament on Monday night.
“After that we have the district at home,” Pels said. “It’s a big advantage to have at home, and we’ll just see what happens.”