Is a win simply just that, despite how many points it may come by? That question could be answered when Concordia and Greensburg face off Saturday in the Class 3A state title game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The No. 2 Pirates (25-1) lead the state in scoring margin, beating foes by 25.3 points per game. The No. 7 Cadets (24-3) have gotten the wins a little tougher at 11.3 points per game and have been battled-tested, especially in the postseason.
I love what we have come through in terms of styles of plays, closeness of games, and playing county and city schools, Concordia coach Josh Eggold said. We have had a pretty eclectic schedule that has prepared us for a lot of different situations.
Not to slight their schedule at all, but I would rather have had a lot of experiences where we were in close games. On Saturday and down eight in the fourth quarter (in a 68-63 overtime win vs. No. 3 Andrean in the semistate), I didn’t see a lot of panic in their eyes. Playing in and winning close games gives you that.
While Greensburg has won in the playoffs by margins of 43, 12, 17, 17, 11 and 25, Concordia has been in the close games, with wins by 15, 14, 35, 6, 9 and 5 (in overtime).
The margin of victory can tell two things most times – how good a team is or how bad the opponent was. And it may be more of a testament to the talent of the Pirates, since the last three postseason wins have come against No. 4 Brownstown Central, No. 5 Evansville Bosse in the regional and No. 1 Mount Vernon (Fortville), 62-37, in the semistate.
I have been very pleased with our kids that we have handled different styles of play and been able to be successful during the tournament run, Greensburg coach Stacy Meyer said. We have beaten all different kinds of teams.
The Pirates have been winning a lot the last two years, with a combined record of 48-2. They went undefeated through 23 games last year before losing in the regional semifinals to Brownstown Central, and they won their first 11 games and last 14 games, sandwiched around a 72-65 loss to Batesville on Jan. 11 this season.
They have a (winning) culture, Eggold said of the Pirates. They really believe in what they are doing. They are playing really confidently right now. In their biggest games, they have gotten out to quick starts.
Greensburg is led by three double-figure scorers in 6-foot-7 junior Sean Sellers (17.7 ppg), 6-3 junior Bryant McIntosh (16.7) and 6-8 sophomore Ryan Welage (12.7).
They have a lot of places where they can score, Eggold said. They do a really good job on their reads, and if we don’t communicate (on defense), they can hurt you.
The Pirates are big but they can also shoot it, hitting 42 percent of their three-pointers.
That’s really impressive, Concordia senior Thomas Starks said of the Pirates’ percentage on threes. We are going to have to close out on shooters, and then we are going to go after the rebounds.
Concordia also possess size and balance, just like Greensburg, with three players in double figures in 6-6 D.J. McCall (17.3 ppg), 6-6 Starks (12.8 ppg) and 6-7 Brian Gremaux (10.1).
The best word for them is complete, Meyer said of the Cadets. Their guards are very good, and they do have an inside presence. They are very patient offensively, and they get really good shots.