The Bowling Green boys’ basketball team made a big statement Friday, beating Greenwood 88-76 at Bowling Green High School.
In a rematch of last year’s Region 4 title game, Bowling Green (6-0 overall, 1-0 District 14) shot 58.6 percent to keep the Gators at bay and pick up an important District 14 win.
BG coach D.G. Sherrill said it’s a nice step forward for his team, which returned one starter from last year’s region title team.
“This was a really good win against a really good basketball team,” Sherrill said. “Greenwood is a formidable basketball team. Our guys just played hard and now the important thing for us is to have some humility about this win and build on it going forward.
“You can take a win like this and think you might have arrived. A young basketball team might think that, but all we did tonight was prove that we can play with this team. Now we have to take this as a learning experience and get better.”
Greenwood (4-1, 0-1) entered the No. 1 ranked team in the latest Daily News Area Top 10, but the Purples took control early and never looked back.
Bowling Green closed the first quarter with eight straight points and added a bucket by Turner Buttry on the first possession of the second quarter to build a 21-12 lead.
The margin grew to 27-14 before Greenwood tried to chip away, getting as close as nine before a late surge pushed BG’s lead back to 36-22 at halftime.
“They smacked us in the mouth early,” Greenwood coach Will McCoy said. “I thought we did OK the first time it happened and then we were rattled. It was not so much their 5-0, 6-0 run that killed as much as it was that we never responded. You can’t put up 22 points in the first half against a good, fast-paced, hard-nosed basketball team and have too much success.”
Bowling Green continued to control the momentum, leading by as much as 17 points in the third quarter. Greenwood tried to make a run in the fourth, cutting the deficit to 10 points, but Bowling Green was able to put the game away at the free-throw line.
“We just played hard,” BG sophomore forward Elijah Starks said. “Last year’s group played hard, but they weren’t as disciplined as us. We played hard and we rebounded well, but we’ve still got things to work on.”
Starks led the way for Bowling Green with 27 points. Buttry finished with 21 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Trevy Barber added 13 points, while MJ Wardlow finished with 10 points.
“All we know now is we won a big 14th District game,” Sherrill said. “We still know how good they are and how formidable they are going to be. We still have to go to one of the toughest places in the state to play when we play them out there later on. This is a step forward, but we know we still have a lot of work to do.”
Cade Stinnett had 24 points to lead Greenwood, while Brakton Stinnett finished with 21 points.
“We’ve got to be better on both sides of the ball,” McCoy said. “If anything, I hope my ball club respects their younger guys a lot more. I’ve been trying to pump the message to them all week that they’re still super talented and don’t buy into the talk that they are down. They still have a great ball team and are extremely well-coached. They were more prepared than us tonight.”
Both teams will return to action this week in holiday tournaments. Greenwood will play at Scott in the Scott Winter Classic at 6:15 p.m. Monday. Bowling Green will face Christian County in the City of Hopkinsville Toyota Classic at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
GHS 12 10 16 38 – 76
BGHS 19 17 15 37 – 88
GHS – C. Stinnett 24, B. Stinnett 21, Brown 14, Raymer 13, Howard 4.
BG – E. Starks 27, Buttry 21, Barber 13, Wardlow 10, Bailey 6, Lin 6, Ritter 4, Gurley 1.
Bowling Green 63, Greenwood 24
The Lady Purples used another strong defensive effort to cruise past the previously unbeaten Lady Gators in the district opener for both schools.
Bowling Green (4-1 overall, 1-0 District 14) has held four straight opponents to 33 points or less.
“I thought we stuck to our defensive game plan and that is kind of our thing,” BG coach Calvin Head said. “Our defense leads to our transition and the pace that we want to play.”
Bowling Green jumped out 19-2 and kept pulling away from there. The lead grew to 35-16 by halftime, with two free throws by Tanaya Bailey making the score 54-19 late in the third to start the KHSAA-mandated running clock.
Bailey led Bowling Green with 19 points. She said it was a good win and a good way to play for the community still recovering from last week’s tornadoes that killed 17 people in Warren County.
“It’s really good to come out here and show the community that we can still play through the struggles, come together, play as a team through the hard things that are going on in life right now,” Bailey said. “With the trouble we are going through we could get together, have a good time and watch a good basketball game.”
Leia Trinh led Greenwood (4-1, 0-1) with 11 points.
The Lady Gators will host a holiday classic starting Monday, with Greenwood facing Casey County at 1:45 p.m. and Marion County at 6 p.m. Bowling Green will face Spencer County at 2:45 p.m. CST Sunday in the Queen of the Commonwealth at Bullitt East High School.
GHS 4 12 3 5 – 24
BGHS 19 16 19 9 – 63
GHS – Trinh 11, Grant 6, Lovall 5, Elzy 2.
BG – Bailey 19, Tisdale 13, James 9, Bennett 6, Shelton 4, Briley 3, Franklin 3, Wardlow 3, Lightning 2, Potter 1.