Two legendary basketball coaches, two rival schools, and one rowdy crowd with the season on the line.
With the pandemic and an unusual cold snap, it threw the tail end of the varsity basketball season into having a Conference Championship Tournament. Greenwood as the #5 seed hosted the Stan Flenor led #8 seed Airedales in H.B. Stewart Arena. Coming into the game the Bulldogs had dropped 3 straight in conference and were looking for a bounce-back on the 9-13 season.
Senior Evan Bartlett got things going for the Bulldogs at the start of the first period with an inside shot. Senior Post Braden Stein would take advantage under the basket adding 6 points in the first. Senior Caleb Ligon would go outside for three, with Sophomore Aiden Kennon added two to cap off the first period. Alma would take their only end-of-period lead 17-16.
Both defenses would come out tough in the second period keeping scoring low with Greenwood only adding 12 points to their total and Alma adding 9. Highlight of the second period was after a missed second free throw by Junior Chase Beshears with 4 seconds left in the half. Ligon knocks the rebound away from Alma’s Nathan Whalen and Kennon ends up with it. Kennon steps outside and shoots the three and gets it with three seconds left and both teams head to the locker room as time expires. Greenwood up 26-28 at the half.
Evan Bartlett would start the 2nd half just as he started the 1st half by getting 2. Missed shot by Alma put the ball back in Greenwood’s hands as Ligon would get the rebound and kick it out to Junior Sam Forbus. Forbus passes it inside to Bartlett and cannot get it in. Forbus chases the shot and gets the rebound to pass it back out to Kennon, who drives in steps up and sinks it from the left side for 2. Bartlett, Kennon, and Ligon would add three pointers to their totals, with Stein adding 2, to push the score to 44-48 with Greenwood on top at the end of the third period.
Fourth Period the defense went to work again, with both sides becoming more physical on either end of the court. Sophomore Hunter Houston took a hard shot from Alma Senior Jacob Coursey late in the period taking him out of the game. Several Airedales would get close to foul trouble, with just Nathan Whalen having to make his way to the bench for Alma inside the final 3 seconds. Evan Bartlett would go to the stripe with 17 seconds left sealing the game making two free throws. Greenwood takes the win with a 54-59 triumph over Alma.
The Boys will take on the Siloam Springs Panthers in Siloam Springs on Monday night at 8pm. The Donnie Husband led team advances to 10-13 on the season in the last game for the team at H.B. Stewart this season.