SELINSGROVE -- The Selinsgrove boys basketball team didn't leave anything on the court Thursday night against Greenwood, it happened to leave everything at the line.
The Seals put together a valiant second-half effort, but in the fourth quarter free throws paid dividends for the Wildcats. And it wasn't only in the final few minutes, but for the entire game as the discrepancy in foul shooting made all the difference.
Greenwood was 19-for-23 at the line, including a solid 10-for-12 performance at the stripe in the final quarter leading to a 54-45 nonleague victory. Selinsgrove was a paltry 5-for-15 at the charity stripe.
"The foul shooting was great in the fourth quarter and when you make them in the final quarter you usually win," said Greenwood coach Kent Houser. "This was a tough environment to play in and I was very pleased with our composure late. We never looked like we panicked."
"Every time we clawed back and get even or within two, they made their shots when we put them on the line," Selinsgrove coach Ray Moyer said. "Give them credit, they made them when they had to. I really liked our energy though, we made a nice run but couldn't close it out."
After erasing a nine-point halftime deficit in the third quarter and getting within a possession with less than two minutes to play, the points wasted at the line down the stretch played a vital role in the outcome. Justin Keiser who led the Seals with 10 points was just 1-for-6 at the line in the fourth and 3-for-9 overall. Greenwood used a few of those key misses to keep the lead late after Selinsgrove tied the score at 40 with 5:44 play.
For as hopeful of a start that it was for Selinsgrove, the finish was less to be desired. The Seals jumped out to an early 9-2 lead in the first four minutes, before the Wildcats responded with a 14-2 run to close the quarter. Once it had the lead, Greenwood never gave it back, being tied twice after the opening eight minutes.
Adam Harrison was huge in that spurt for Greenwood scoring all eight of his points in first. Alex Potter then took over in the second by dropping 10 of his game-high 14, before knocking down a few key free throws in the fourth. Colton Fortenbaugh added eight of his 13 in the fourth quarter, while Grant Lesh was the only other scorer in double figures finishing with 10.
A 12-2 run over the back half of the second quarter by Greenwood helped open up its largest lead at 13. However, it would score just six points in the third as Selinsgrove's defensive adjustments paid off, as did junior forward Kwazi Walker.
"I thought we got a little slow and they did a better job at checking us and getting out on our shooters," Houser said. "They gave us some pretty good looks and did a good job at closing us out."
Walker had four points, three big blocks and three rebounds in the frame to help ignite a third-quarter spark. He finished with seven rebounds as well. Greenwood managed just two field goals in the quarter as Selinsgrove went on an 11-2 run to tie the game at 34 after Walker's bucket with 3:07 to go.
"Kwazi came in and did a great job sparking us in that run," added Moyer. "The whole team fed off it and the defense played a step faster."
Fortenbaugh then took over in final five minutes with two big buckets, his final one coming with 2:10 left to give Greenwood a 46-42 lead following a pair of misses at the line.
"When Colton got his third foul there in the third, that obviously hurt us," said Houser. "It was nice to get him back in the fourth quarter."