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There are different levels to high school basketball, and the presentation of the Greenfield School varsity boys basketball team put that on display Thursday night in the second round of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A playoffs.
Greenfield, as the No. 2 seed in the 1-A postseason field and defending champion, faced a Pantego Terra Ceia team with a 26-3 record to its credit, but was unseeded by the NCISAA’s seeding committee for the playoffs.
The human eye test might have got this one right.
Putting its lethality from 3-point range on display with 13 treys, Greenfield decked Terra Ceia with three consecutive 3-pointers to open play and cruised to a comprehensive 97-50 victory where 11 players saw significant playing time.
Greenfield, in improving to 28-6 overall, will host No. 7 seed Cape Fear Christian in Saturday’s quarterfinal round after Cape Fear squeaked past Henderson Crossroads Christian 72-70 in other second-round play Thursday night.
“We were making the right play and we were unselfish,” Greenfield head coach Rob Salter said. “We have the potential shooting the ball like that. We’ve been shooting it really well in practice, and it was good to see it carry over to the game.”
In a battle of Knights mascots, Greenfield made seven 3-pointers in the first quarter alone as Terra Ceia stayed on its heels. Playing without senior point guard Dji Bailey due to the coaches’ decision, Greenfield didn’t miss a beat with its offensive spacing, with senior Creighton Lebo, senior Collin Guilford, senior Trey Pittman and eighth grader Hampton Evans contributing to the barrage. Off the bench, sophomore KJ Peten and junior Justin Holland further compounded Terra Ceia’s misery beyond the arc, helping Greenfield amass a 32-10 lead after one quarter. That advantage briefly crept below 20 at the start of the second quarter, but a three-point play from Evans put an end to those prospects.
“They showed you tonight why they were ranked No. 2 in the state,” Terra Ceia head coach Roger Klaassen said. “They can shoot the basketball, and they’re very quick and athletic. They played the way they’re ranked, that’s for sure. This is the big time when you get to this point, and I don’t take anything away from my kids. They played their heart and soul out and went on a 23-game winning streak to get us here. It’s been an outstanding year.”
Pittman led four Greenfield players in double figures with 23 points. Lynch tallied 18 points and Guilford had 16. Lebo finished with 11 points.
Greenfield’s reserves saw meaningful playing time in two stretches, with the first coming in the third quarter with a 74-35 cushion. Terra Ceia closed to within 76-42 after three quarters, but once the starters were re-inserted, the 40-point running clock activated on Lynch’s layup off a turnovers with 7:24 to go.
Following junior Nathan Woodard’s 3-pointer to make it 91-44, Greenfield lifted its starters for the final time with 4:27 remaining. The lead reached as many as 49 on a layup from senior Nick Sessoms.
Terra Ceia, overcome by Greenfield’s trap along the sidelines in the first half, was led by the 20 points of Gunner Couch. Matt Van Staalduinen had 17.
“We just wanted to be unselfish and practice good habits so we can carry them over to the final four,” Pittman said. “Which hopefully, we get there — we’ve got to win Saturday first. And then, we want to win the state championship.”
TERRA CEIA (50)
Shelton, Couch 20, Bowen, Edwards 5, M. Van Staalduinen 17, Bunch 2, A. Van Staalduinen 6, Klaassen.
Guilford 16, Lynch 18, Kirby, Watt 5, Paten 6, Holland 3, Pittman 23, Lebo 11, Woodard 4, Sessoms 2, Wall, Evans 9.
Score by quarters:
Terra Ceia 10 16 16 8 — 50
Greenfield 32 19 27 19 — 97