INDIANAPOLIS – With a Class 3A state championship setback still stinging while attending a postgame news conference, the Concordia boys basketball team seemed more worried about another loss – playing together.
The 73-70 overtime defeat to Greensburg on Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse marked the final time on a basketball court for these Cadets, especially the four senior starters – Ryan Gross, Brian Gremaux, Thomas Starks and Marq Rogers.
“It was hard taking that loss and knowing I will never play with these guys again,” Rogers said. “We have a created a legacy here at Concordia.”
It was a tough finale for a team that made school history with its first trip to the state finals.
“We fell a little short tonight, but Greensburg is a very good team,” Gremaux said.
The Pirates rallied late in regulation and sent the game into overtime at 61, and then outscored the Cadets 12-9 in the extra session, almost the reverse of what Concordia did to Andrean a week earlier in a 68-63 overtime win in the semistate.
“We wish we could have come out on top, but you can’t win them all,” said Starks, who won the 3A mental attitude award.
Junior D.J. McCall led Concordia with 17 points.
“These (seniors) taught me so much not only on the court, but also off the court,” McCall said. “It is a blessing to play with these guys. It was a great season with them.”
Gross finished with 14 points and eight assists, Starks had 12 points and eight rebounds, while Gremaux added 11 points and Rogers seven points.
The No. 2 Pirates (26-1) trailed by five entering the fourth quarter, but outscored the No. 7 Cadets (23-5) 17-12.
Bryant McIntosh had 25 points and four assists for Greensburg. The Indiana State recruit had six points in overtime and 15 points in the second half.
“McIntosh stepped up at the end of the game and really played great,” Concordia coach Josh Eggold said. “You knew he was the kind of player who could elevate things.”
Also for the Pirates, Sean Sellers had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Ryan Welage added 16 points.
With the Cadets trailing 73-70, Starks and Gross missed three-pointers in the final seconds of overtime.
Foul trouble hurt the Cadets, especially late in the game. Gremaux and McCall both fouled out, while Rogers and Starks each finished with four fouls.
The Cadets were only able to force nine turnovers and after causing 19 the week before.
“That really limited how aggressive we could be to the ball,” Eggold said of the foul trouble. “And it was a key for them how they were able to get into the paint.”
Concordia had only eight turnovers, but the Cadets had some costly miscues late in regulation.
“We respectfully give them a salute as champions,” Eggold said of Greensburg.
Concordia never trailed in regulation, and the Pirates’ first lead came with 2:20 left in overtime, 66-65, on a free throw by Welage.
“It seemed like it was a slow comeback for them,” Eggold said. “It wasn’t all at once.”