Green Ridge trailed by as many as 28 points in the second half and trailed by 21 in the fourth quarter before getting within eight, but ultimately fell 84-74 to Sacred Heart on Wednesday in a boys basketball semifinal at the Kaysinger Conference Tournament.
The Tigers trailed 71-50 before an Axton Harding 3-point play sparked a 24-11 run. Harding hit another basket inside and Hayden Doane followed with a 3-pointer then a steal and layup to get the Tigers within 12. Doane hit a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left to cut Sacred Heart’s lead to 81-71 and Harding followed with a putback, but by then it was too late to trouble the Gremlins.
“If we’d shown up the first half, we’d have upset them,” said Green Ridge coach Jason Ollison. “It’s one of those things to where the kids are finally starting to believe, starting to buy in and that’s really exciting for me. I’m proud of where we’re headed with this program.”
Harding led the Tigers with 27 points, scoring 17 in the second half. Justin McCarthy added 16. Doane had 15 and Hunter Niceswander scored 12.
“I give them credit, they played really good,” said Sacred Heart coach Steve Goodwin. “We did some things too. We didn’t go away either.”
Sacred Heart jumped out to an 18-6 lead in the first quarter and extended the lead even further in the second quarter with a 12-2 run that saw Keyaire Marshal hit a pair of 3-pointers, Stefan Cox find Garrett Strange in transition and Jimmy Villalobos hit a layup.
“When we moved the ball well, we got the shots we wanted,” Goodwin said. “When the ball sticks in one spot and we don’t move it, we’re a lot easier to guard.”
Sacred Heart led 49-29 to open the third quarter and went on a 10-1 run midway through the third with Cox hitting a 3-pointer and Villalobos scoring on a drive.
Cox scored 22 points. Strange and Marshal each had 14. Villalobos scored 13 and Chase Lyles added nine.
Sacred Heart will play for its fifth Kaysinger Conference Tournament championship in six years when it faces Tipton at 8 p.m. Friday.
Green Ridge will face Windsor in the third-place game at 6:30 p.m. Friday.