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By David Sharp
Green City employed a suffocating full court pressure defense and timely perimeter scoring to build an 18 point halftime lead in their March 2, 2021 Class 1 Sectional basketball game at Meadville. The Gophers had four players score in double figures in a 70-52 victory over Meadville (19-7).
Both teams had impressive runs during a fiercely contested first quarter. Green City (25-4) took a four point lead from the get-go. Meadville responded with a 7-0 run. Wade Van Dyke gave the Eagles a 7-4 lead with 4:02 showing on the first quarter clock with a home run ball.
Laydon Fields scored, putting Green City back on top of an 8-7 score. Aaron Peavler tossed in a three ball. Chris Barto stole the ball and scored. Green City employed an 8-0 run to a 15-7 lead with 1:46 showing on the first quarter clock.
Green City took a 15-9 lead after the opening period. Kaden Hatcher and Conner Fletcher of Meadville traded baskets. Green City led 17- 11 with 7:16 to play in the second quarter.
Layden Fields ignited the offensive side of a 15-0 run with a three ball. Green City pressured Meadville into turnovers. The Gophers converted those turnovers to lay ups. Asher Tipton brought the Green City crowd to their feet with a three pointer and a 32-11 lead with 18 seconds remaining in the first half.
The teams went to the dressing room with Green City holding the 18 point 34-16 lead. The half-court trap and full court pressure defense set the whole thing up. ”That’s what gets us going, is our defense,” Green City coach Donnie Fields said.
“We worked even a little harder on it this week. We knew if we could make Trey (Gannan) and Conner (Fletcher) catch the basketball 25 or 30 feet from the basket we would have a lot more success.”
“When they caught the basketball, they were way off the three point line,” Donnie Fields said. “We could play defense a lot better on them out there. They let it go a little bit. We got a few tip ups. A few takeaways and a few lay ups.”
“We are pretty athletic. Our bench played a huge role too,” Coach Fields said. “They came and played hard. That played a pretty big factor too. I don’t care who is winning on the other side.”
“We are going to show up and play exactly the way we did tonight,” Donnie Fields said. “We decided that after we lost to Novinger back in January that we weren’t changing. We weren’t adapting to what other people do.”
“We are going to do what we do best and leave it out on the floor.”
Green City took up where they left off in the third quarter. The full court pressure defense helped build a 25 point lead. Grant O’ Haver sank a three ball with 3:21 to play in the period for a 46-22 advantage. Trey Gannan sank two Meadville free throws, pulling the Eagles back within a 49-26 deficit at the 2:15 mark of the third period.
Trey Gannan and Aaron Peavler swapped hoops with 40 seconds on the clock. Green City entered the fourth quarter with a commanding 51-30 lead.
Green City pulled the ball out several times. Gopher players saw wide open lanes to the rim and took full advantage on several instances. Parker Hammond and Timmer Hinnon brought Meadville within a 68-47 deficit with 2:18 remaining.
Green City forced enough turnovers to limit Eagle scoring chances. The Gophers did a good job of contesting Meadville perimeter scoring chances.
Time expired with Green City taking the 70-52 win. The Gophers held a 20-17 edge in made field goals. Green City outdid a Meadville program famous for three point shooting prowess by a 7-4 margin from the arc. Both sides shot free throws well. Green City was 9-12 from the free throw line.
Meadville went 6-8 from the charity stripe. “We knew that if they were going to make three point shots that it was going to be tough to stay in,” Meadville coach Drew Nier said. “Their pressure affects us in ways and spots. I thought that if we could get it to ten we might have a crack at them.”
“Unfortunately, kudos to them. They kept us at bay all night. We just didn’t have what would take to close the gap in the second half,” Drew Nier said. “We thought if we could get it broke in the full court, that we could have some success in the half court.” Coach Nier said in response to a reporter’s inquiry about Green City’s defensive effort.
“Their half-court defense was equally impressive to their full court defense in the first half,” Drew Nier said. “When we struggled that much in the full court. I thought they came out and gave us the knockout blow in the third quarter.”
“I thought their pressure was outstanding tonight,” Coach Nier said. “I hope they continue to shoot it like that, because they will be in Springfield this time next week. I thought that was the difference in the game.”
“They knocked down some threes. They turned us over. They got easy stuff,” Coach Nier said. “When they got easy stuff, their three pointers were tough. I would love to see an area team get down there and have some success.”
Trey Gannan led Meadville with 17 points. Timber Hinnon scored 13 and Conner Fletcher was in double figures with 11 Eagle points.
Laydon Fields led all scorers with 26 points. Asher Tipton fired in 19 points. Christopher Barto scored 14 Green City points. Aaron Peavler was the fourth Gopher in double digits with 12 points. Grant O’ Haver scored seven points. Kaden Hatcher added two points.