The Green Ridge Tigers wanted to slow down Cole Camp’s Michael Brockman and Tanner Oelrichs. Mission accomplished.
However, Timothy Ward scored 22 points, and the Bluebirds played aggressively to beat the Tigers 67-48 on Tuesday in the Kaysinger Conference Tournament semifinal round.
The top-seeded Bluebirds (20-3) will meet the winner of late Tuesday’s Sacred Heart-Tipton semifinal in the championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center. Green Ridge (14-7) face the loser in the third-place game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
“There were some things that they did different (from the previous game, an 81-63 win by the Bluebirds on Jan. 29),” Cole Camp coach Tom Ward said. “We were glad to see it because it’s something we’ll see down the road. Now, we have a chance to go back and work on some things and try to get better at it.”
Green Ridge coach Jason Ollison said, “We jumped it up on them. We put up a couple of guys in the zone and we were guarding their shooters, making sure they didn’t get open looks. Down at their place, Brockman just absolutely killed us from the outside, and Oelrichs was able to run free. We tried to keep two guys around Oelrichs and keep a guy on Brockman.”
Brockman scored 12 points, and Oelrichs had 10.
Ward said Tuesday’s game will help prepare his team for the rest of the season.
“We haven’t had much time to work on our man-to-man offenses. We’ve seen a ton of zones,” Ward said.
Cole Camp attacked the basket in the first half and attempted 23 free throws compared to the Tigers’ 6. The Bluebirds outscored Green Ridge 15-3 at the foul stripe in the opening half.
“We reached too much and were a little slow with our feet,” Ollison said. “I don’t have a problem with the team’s character. They tried the whole way.”
The Bluebirds held quarter leads of 18-9, 34-18 and 51-29.
Foul trouble hurt Green Ridge. Starting post Austin Story was called for four fouls in the first half and fouled out only 1:09 into the third quarter.
“I made a decision there at halftime to put him back in the game. If there was any way we were coming back, we couldn’t do it without him,” Ollison said.
Cole Camp opened the second half on an 8-1 run, but the Tigers made a push, cutting their deficit to 47-29 on a basket by Ben Scotten.
Green Ridge didn’t come any closer than 22 in the fourth.
Axton Harding paced Green Ridge with 15 points.