Senior staff writer
Is the Greenwood boys basketball team ‘zoned in’?
For more than 25 years under longtime coach Bruce Hensley, Greenwood was known for its tenacious man-to-man defense. Hensley’s successor, Joe Bradburn, is also a disciple of the same defense.
Perry Meridian was stunned when Greenwood unleashed a hard-nosed zone defense for a 60-38 win Jan. 17. The Woodmen had toyed with a couple of zone defenses during recent practices and used the best one.
The Woodmen came up with their best defensive effort of the season, holding the youthful Falcons to their season-low point total. The zone took its toll in the second half. The Falcons took only 12 field goal tries, hit only one 3-point shot and scored a mere 15 points.
Perry Meridian ran into the perfect storm against the Woodmen, who were eager to atone for a stunning two-point loss to Franklin in the semifinals of the Johnson County tourney in their last outing.
The Woodmen connected on 22-of-44 shots against the Falcons. Junior Isaiah Drew started in place of ill senior Max Raker and responded by hitting 6-of-9 3-pointers in a career-high 20-point performance. Jeffrey Reynolds, a 6-6 senior, led the board attack with 14 rebounds.
“We were still mad that we lost that one (county tourney),” said senior Eric Moenkhaus, who scored 14 points. “We came out and we were active on both ends, but the key was our defense.”
The teams battled evenly for most of the first half, which was tied four times and had three lead changes. Greenwood closed the half with a 9-2 run for a 30-23 halftime lead as Moenkhaus’ second trey capped the surge.
“Our defenses kept them off balance,” said first-year coach Bradburn. “It was probably our most complete game of the year from start to finish.”
Perry Meridian coach Brent Keck continued a youth movement by starting senior Gabe Patterson and four freshmen, who battled the more experienced Woodmen throughout the first half.
The Falcons (2-9) took a 17-14 lead on Patterson’s trey but never led again, although tying the game two more times.
“We were right there, competing with them,” Keck said. “They came up with that zone and our kids did not pick up on it. Give Greenwood credit (because) they really mixed things up and they hit their shots.”
The Woodmen’s winning ways didn’t last long as they dropped a key Mid-State Conference matchup Friday at Decatur Central, 59-57. The loss dropped the Woodmen to 2-2 in league play.
Manual defeated Northwest and Ritter but fell to Cathedral in the semifinals Saturday of the city tourney. The Redskins visit city tourney finalist Howe in a regular-season game Friday.
No. 11 Center Grove lost in back-to-back games, first at home Friday to Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference foe and No. 5 Ben Davis 56-53 in overtime and then Saturday at Roncalli, 55-49.
Key Friday matchups find Lutheran at Beech Grove as the Hornets observe Coaches vs. Cancer night. Roncalli faces Ritter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Columbus North visits Southport. The Rebels return home Saturday to face Greenwood.