Coaches tend to expect a lot from their senior contributors.
Carvers Bay boys basketball coach Jeff Mezzatesta admits the stat line of his lone senior, forward Jeremiah Greene, isn’t the “most sexy” or appealing to the eyes.
What he lacks in volume, the Bears captain tends to make up in skill. On top of his scoring ability, rebounding and maturity, Greene showcased another trait Saturday night that would inevitably deliver his squad a playoff win.
A clutch 3-pointer by the Carvers Bay senior with less than five seconds remaining proved to be a game-winner, nudging it past Woodland and into the Lower State semifinal round. There it will meet Calhoun County, which defeated Kingstree 80-61.
Rising up for the shot, Greene’s focus was less on making sure it hit the mark, but on an errant attempt a few minutes earlier.
“In my mind, I was thinking I got to get back that three I air-balled,” he said. “I had that killer mentality. When I shoot this three it is going in … I’m going to send my team to the third round.”
His shot from deep range concluded quite the fourth quarter, a stanza which saw eight lead changes and five ties.
Carvers Bay did its part to keep the game close, unable to take advantage of a sizable disparity in fouls called on Woodland. Despite being in the bonus midway through the third period, the Bears left the door open at the charity stripe — especially down the stretch, where they missed six in a row.
Already good enough, the Wolverines did not need extra help. Particularly with Mikel Shuler at their disposal, the diminutive point guard scoring 20 of his game-high 33 points in the second half.
His floater with 28 seconds remaining would put Woodland up 68-67, before Greene’s shot proved to be the final dagger to its championship hopes.
Though Carvers Bay made it a tad tougher than desired, Mezzatesta believes only good things can come from such hard-fought wins.
“They wouldn’t quit, kept battling … I’m so proud of them,” he said. “Every time we would pull away, we would find a way to get in our way. We’d mess up rotation, we’d get somebody in foul trouble so we’d have to mess up what is going on.
“That’s what we talked about (in the locker room). The way they stayed composed, the way they kept battling back. … It’s a learning experience and we’ll learn from it this time.”
Dijon Goss less the Bears with 21 points. Also scoring in double figures was Tyrek Reed and Greene, who had 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Along with Shuler, Eugene Pryor had 11 points for Woodland in a losing effort.
Of note: Blessed with a thrilling finish, the game also was riddled by referees’ whistles. Fifty-four fouls were called in the game, with five players fouling out — four of which were from Woodland.
WHS (68): Mikel Shuler 33, Kraytron Allen 9, Michael Shuler 4, James Perry 3, Lavelle Davis 1, Eugene Pryor 11, Yasir Price 2, Braxton All 5.
CB (70): Tyrek Reed 15, Jeremiah Green 12, Quevon Dickerson 6, Stephon Greene 8, Janaz Sumpter 6, Dijon Goss 21, Jaquan Reed 1, P.J. Epps 1.
3-pointers: WHS 6 (Pryor, Mik. Shuler 3, Mic. Shuler, Perry), CB 5 (J. Greene 3, T. Reed 2). Team fouls: WHS 34, CB 20. Fouled out: Allen (WHS), Perry (WHS), Pryor (WHS), All (WHS), S. Greene (CB). Technical fouls: None.
Records: WHS 13-11, CB 16-9