Greenwood boys basketball edges Edinburgh in overtime

Noah Apgar is accustomed to being a critical part of Greenwood’s game plan on the defensive end, and he was again on Tuesday night. But the Woodmen also leaned on the hard-nosed senior on offense during their Johnson County tournament opener at Class A No. 2 Edinburgh, and he responded.

In addition to playing shutdown defense on county scoring leader Caleb Dewey, Apgar scored a team-high 13 points, with six of those coming in overtime as the Woodmen pulled out a 37-34 victory over the previously unbeaten Lancers.

The Woodmen (7-5) will face Whiteland in the 6 p.m. semifinal Friday at Indian Creek.

“He’s our junkyard dog,” Greenwood coach Joe Bradburn said of Apgar. “He just takes care of so many elements, so many things … he’s one of the most competitive kids I’ve coached. He showed big-time, when the game was on the line, we needed him to do some things out of character; he’s not normally our primary ball-handler, but he took it over tonight and was strong enough to get to the rim and make things happen.”

“I am never a floor general at all; I don’t ever really do that,” Apgar added with a grin. “But if coach calls my number to step up, I’m going to try to do the best I can do at it.”

Apgar’s best turned out to be just good enough on a night largely dominated by airtight defense.

Greenwood led 33-30 with 53.9 seconds left in OT, but Dewey — who sat out the first half after being called for a technical foul in the Lancers’ previous game and was largely kept quiet in this one, scoring seven points — caused the gym to erupt when he come up with a three-point play with 36.8 seconds to go. After Apgar responded with a go-ahead floater at the other end, Edinburgh (11-1) had another chance to pull even when Travis Jones was fouled with 6.6 seconds left, but Jones’ second attempt rimmed out, and Apgar then sank two more free throws.

Jarrett Turner’s deep 3-point try at the buzzer was off the mark.

Dewey’s absence didn’t hold the Lancers back in the opening quarter, when Landen Burton hit a 3-pointer to begin a 7-0 spurt that put the home team in front early. Edinburgh still had a 13-8 lead with 5:39 left in the half and had a chance to extend its advantage after getting into the bonus shortly thereafter, but it missed the front end of consecutive one-and-ones as well as a late layup, and the Woodmen took advantage, getting baskets from Apgar and Carter Campbell to go into the break within a point at 13-12.

Though his club had the lead, Edinburgh coach Keith Witty lamented the missed opportunities — particularly from the line, where the Lancers were 6 for 13 on the night.

“We put ourselves in a position to win, and then shot ourselves in the foot by not hitting free throws,” he said. “I thought our guys battled defensively, worked their butts off on the defensive end. On offense, we took some physical plays and handled it and adjusted from it, and it just came down to free throws. We didn’t make ours, and they made theirs.”

Greenwood was 7 for 10 at the foul line, including 5 of 7 in overtime.

The Lancers started the second half with momentum, getting buckets from Jones and Dewey to go back up by five. But Greenwood again punched back and eventually regained the lead, 22-20, on a four-point play from Campbell. The visitors stretched their lead to 26-21 on an Adam Ellinghausen hook just seconds into the fourth quarter and appeared poised to put the game away before Burton came up with two big plays — a 3-pointer and then a three-point play — to get Edinburgh back within one, 28-27, with 1:59 to go in regulation.

Following a Greenwood turnover, Dewey converted a free throw at the 1:06 mark to even the score and set up the extra period.

Burton led all scorers with 14 points for Edinburgh, while Jones finished with eight despite being hounded most of the night by Gavin Ruppert and Ellinghausen. Campbell contributed 10 points for the Woodmen, who now look forward to getting another crack at the Warriors after losing to them, 49-33, last weekend.

Greenwood stayed close in that game until Whiteland pulled away with a 3-point barrage midway through the fourth quarter.

“We have to play a really good ball game to be in a position to win,” Bradburn said. “We have to eliminate a lot of our mental and physical mistakes, and we’ve talked about that. But the bottom line is, we’ve got another shot. That’s what we wanted.”