Wildcats top Indians in TVL semis
MILLERSTOWN — It’s no secret that the Millersburg offense runs through one of the top scorers in the Tri-Valley League.
Christian Bingaman entered the Tri-Valley League tournament averaging 22.5 points per game. On Tuesday night his offensive output was nearly non-existent.
Greenwood’s Aaron Bollinger shadowed Bingaman throughout the evening, frustrating the junior into mistakes as the Indians’ star guard was held to just seven points and the Wildcats rolled to a 51-35 win in the semifinals of the TVL tournament.
Millersburg had the second-best scoring offense in the TVL, averaging 60.75 points per game. The Indians failed to knock down shots and the Wildcats did a fantastic job of limiting Millersburg to one shot on most possessions.
“I thought that Aaron Bollinger did a great job on him and I also thought that the supporting cast was exactly where they needed to be,” Gantt said. “We executed the defensive game plan about as well as we have in a long time.”
Bollinger was brilliant on the offensive end of the floor as well, finishing with 18 points on five 3-pointers, while Avery Morder and Thomas Pyle each scored in double figures.
“I think [Bollinger and Morder] really click well together and I thought that our offense was running well,” Gantt said. “We took great shots in the first half and got in rhythm and we played with a lot of confidence.”
Bollinger’s first 3-pointer found the bottom of the net with 5:25 left in the opening quarter to push Greenwood’s lead to 7-3. Morder added a 3-pointer on the next possession to increase the lead to 10-5. Thomas Pyle joined the 3-point parade to give the Wildcats a 16-10 lead with 2:15 left in the first. A final 3-pointer form Bollinger made it 21-10 at the end of the first.
The Wildcats hit 10 3-pointers on the night.
“It really opened things up and it’s always nice to play with a lead,” Gantt said of the 3-point baskets. “I thought the guys at the end of the game closed it out as well as we have all season as well.”
In the second quarter Pyle drove into the lane, absorbed the contact and knocked down a layup to push the lead back up to 10 with 5:20 left after a short run by the Indians. Pyle was excellent in transition, pushing the pace off empty Indians’ possessions.
A sweet no-look pass from Morder to Bollinger resulted in an easy layup, keeping the lead at double digits with 2:55 left in the first half as the Wildcats led 31-20.
Millersburg started to claw back into the game in the third quarter as Bingaman tried to impact the game in other ways, assisting on three baskets by Aiden Harman. The Indians outscored Greenwood 10-6 in the third, but a 3-pointer by Morder with 1:57 left in the quarter made it 40-31 Wildcats.
The Wildcats closed the game with excellent defense, holding the Indians to just two fourth-quarter points, while Greenwood got to the line 10 times in the final quarter. The Wildcats closed on an 11-2 run. Greenwood held a major advantage in free-throw attempts, going 9-of-21 from the charity stripe while Millersburg went just 1-of-2.
“I thought we made them earn their points,” Gantt said. “That’s what we’ve really been talking about, getting back to playing tough Greenwood defense.”
The win puts the Wildcats in the TVL championship game where Greenwood will face Upper Dauphin.
Gantt believes his team will relish the opportunity to play for a championship and will be ready to go on Thursday night.
“It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come around every year and I think that the guys understand that,” Gantt said. “We will go out and give it our best shot.”
The Wildcats will face Upper Dauphin on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. in Newport.
Greenwood 51, Millersburg 35
Aaron Bollinger 5 3-6 18, Avery Morder 4 1-2 12, Thomas Pyle 3 3-7 11, Michael Strohm 2 2-6 6, Brennan Miller 1 0-0 2, Tyler Sherman 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 9-21 51.
3-point goals: Bollinger 5, Morder 3, Pyle 2.
Did not score: Steven Watts, Mitch Kauffman, Logan Seiber.
Devyn Kintzer 4 0-0 8, Christian Bingaman 3 1-2 7, Jon Snyder 2 0-0 6, Aiden Harman 3 0-0 6, Tate Etzweiler 2 0-0 4, Brant Bingaman 1 0-0 2. Totals: 13 1-2 35.
3-point goals: Snyder 2.
Did not score: Kyle Casner, Hayden Bixler, Lukas Zimmerman, Mason Engle.
Score by quarters:
Greenwood 22-12-6-11 — 51
Millersburg 12-11-10-2 — 35