LEWISBURG -- Lewisburg's Marcus Meslener had his head turned as he walked into the locker room following Monday's game, nearly knocking over coach John Vaji -- who was on his way out to meet with reporters -- in the process.
That was par for the course Monday, because the 6-foot-4 senior center bulled his way past people for most of the fourth quarter. Meslener led a second-half charge that saw the Green Dragons rally from 15 points down, as he scored eight fourth-quarter points in leading Lewisburg to a 54-48 nonleague win over Greenwood.
"I'm finally getting my groove a little bit," Meslener said. "It was a big game and I really wanted to win. (We) just came through."
With the win, the Green Dragons improve to 17-4, and they beat a team that hadn't lost since Dec. 10.
"We knew it was going to be a tough battle," Vaji said. "To our kids' credit, they persevered."
The Wildcats (18-2), who will almost certainly be the top seed for the upcoming District 3 Class A playoffs, led by 15 early in the third quarter and still had a nine-point advantage with 5:45 to go. But they didn't make a field goal for the final six minutes of the game.
"In the second half, they didn't get many transition buckets," Vaji said, "and they didn't get too many open looks. ... We did a much better job defensively in the second half."
Meslener scored a game-high 17 points, Cam Cassels added 12, and Travis Conrad had 10. The Green Dragons, who went 0-for-2 from the foul line in the first half, buried 16 after intermission.
"We committed a lot of fouls in the second half," Greenwood coach Kent Houser said. "We had five fouls less than three minutes into the (second) half. That's the perfect prescription to lose on the road. You've got to make the other team score on you with the clock running."
The Wildcats were also undone by turnovers. After committing just two turnovers in the first half, Greenwood gave it away 16 times in the second half.
"We eliminated our turnovers and forced them to make the turnovers," Vaji said.
Colten Fortenbaugh made a pair of foul shots with 5:45 left to put Greenwood up nine, 47-38. But it was all Lewisburg after that. The Green Dragons ended the game on a 16-1 run. After Meslener made two foul shots to give Lewisburg the lead for good at 48-47, Cassels made a quick steal after the inbounds pass and drove in for a layup before being fouled. He made the first but missed the second, and the Green Dragons came up with the offensive rebound.
Eventually, Cassels was fouled again, and he again made one of two to put the Dragons up three with a minute left.
With a chance to tie, the Wildcats turned it over again, and Conrad buried four free throws in the final 34 seconds to seal the win.
"We did a fabulous job down the stretch of executing and making the good shot," Vaji said. "It was a very good performance by the guys to finish the game down the stretch."
Tyler Fegley came off the bench to score a team-high 14 points for Greenwood.