CORNELL — The Greenwood boys basketball team came to town with a high-intensity defense on Tuesday, and by the time it departed it had given Cornell a seemingly endless supply of frustration.
The Indians used their full court press and high-pressing defensive traps to coast to a 54-33 win over the Chiefs in nonconference play. Cornell struggled to deal with the pressure, leading to bunches of turnovers that Greenwood used to its advantage.
“The frustrating part is that we practiced it for an hour and a half last night. We knew the press was coming,” Cornell coach Shawn Schoelzel said. “The second frustrating part about it is that the guys that I’m expecting to lead us out there were the ones turning (the ball) over...that’s really disappointing.”
Cornell got off to a good start, opening the game with a 7-3 run on a 3-pointer by Jake Hall and baskets by Luke Thompson and Ryan Larson. But then Greenwood’s pressure started forcing turnovers and completely changed the outlook of the game.
The Indians went on a 22-4 run after falling behind by four. The stretch saw Cornell struggle to get into any rhythm on offense, while Greenwood thrived off transition baskets. The Chiefs fell into double teams and tight spots that forced errant passes and some fumbling of the ball time and time again.
“If we can break the press, I think we play right with them. But we just didn’t get the shots we need, they got the easy layups and that’s why we lose by 20,” Schoelzel said.
Greenwood’s Devin Toburen scored nine points during the run, which lasted about 10 minutes. Cornell’s only points in that span came from a basket by Thompson and single free throws by Larson and Hall.
By the time the run subsided, Greenwood took a 31-15 lead into halftime. With seven points, Larson accounted for almost half of Cornell’s scoring in the period.
“Ryan’s coming back from a broken wrist, so he’s doing a nice job of getting back into the swing of things, getting into the flow a little bit more. He’s really helping us out on the rebounding part of it,” Schoelzel said.
The second half didn’t offer much variety. Greenwood continued to force Cornell mistakes with its defense, although the Chiefs were able to score with a little bit more regularity. They didn’t hit many shots outside the paint. That made things difficult, as getting the ball into the paint against the Indians’ defense was no easy task.
“We’ve got to work the offense around a little bit better, get some easier shots,” Schoelzel said. “We’re taking a lot of outside shots. We’ve got to work it inside a little better.”
Meanwhile, the Indians continued to shoot the ball well and take advantage of opportunities near the hoop. They went on an 11-5 run in a stretch of four minutes to put the game fully out of reach with five minutes left to play.
Larson led Cornell with 14 points, while Hall added 13. The Chiefs only had four players score in the contest. Toburen scored a game-high 16 points for Greenwood.
Cornell (3-6) travels to Bruce on Friday for the first of five straight road games.