After leading almost the entire game, unranked Concordia Lutheran just missed winning its first state basketball title Saturday evening, falling to No. 2-ranked Greensburg 73-70 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Concordia, 23-5, led 31-21 at the half against Greensburg, 26-1. The Cadets never trailed in regulation and built a 12-point lead halfway through the third quarter, though the Pirates rallied to tie the game with 1:17 remaining on a layup by Bryant McIntosh.
The Cadets got a big break when Greensburg leading scorer Sean Sellers fouled out with 48 seconds remaining in regulation after scoring 19 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Thomas Starks hit the first of two free throws to give the Cadets a 59-58 lead.
On Greenburg's ensuing trip downcourt, Concordia's Brian Gremaux was called for his fifth foul, and he finished with 11 points and four rebounds. The Pirates' Ryan Welage missed a free throw with 33 seconds left, and Concordia's D.J. McCall was fouled on the rebound.
McCall hit both of his free throws to give Concordia a 61-58 lead, but McIntosh nailed a three-pointer with 28 seconds left to tie the game. Starks turned the ball over with eight seconds remaining on a steal by the Pirates' Tyler Burcham, and Greensburg called a time out.
Then the Pirates turned the ball over with six seconds remaining, and the Cadets called time out, but Marq Rogers missed a three-pointer as the clock ran out.
During the extra session, Concordia took the lead with a layup by Starks, but McIntosh tied the score at 63 with two free throws. Ryan Welage missed two free throws and a chance to give Greensburg it's first lead.
Rogers tipped in a McCall miss to put the Cadets up 65-63, but again McIntosh hit two free throws to tie the game with 2:51 remaining.
When McIntosh blocked McCall's layup attempt, Colin Rigney rebounded for the Pirates. Welage hit one of two free throws with 2:20 left to give Greensburg its first lead of the day, but McCall gave the Cadets back the advantage 67-66 with a dunk.
Welage hit a layup with 1:37 left to give Greensburg the lead at 68-67, but Starks hit McCall for a layup with 1:22 remaining for a 69-68 Concordia lead.
McIntosh stayed hot, hitting a jumper with 1:09 remaining to give Greensburg a 70-69 lead, and then the Pirates called a time out after a turnover by the Cadets' Ryan Gross with 1:04 remaining.
The Pirates had a chance to increase the lead, but McIntosh missed from inside with 43 seconds remaining. Welage came down with the rebound and was fouled by McCall, who fouled out with 17 points.
Welage hit one free throw but missed the second to make the score 71-69, and then fouled Gross with 35 seconds left. He hit the second of two free throws to pull Concordia within 71-70, but Rigney scored a layup with 22 seconds remaining to make the score 73-70.
The Cadets had a final chance with 10 seconds remaining, and coach Josh Eggold called a 30-second time out. Starks missed a three-point attempt with nine seconds remaining, but McIntosh turned the ball over with five seconds remaining to give Concordia one last chance. Gross missed a three-pointer with two seconds left, and McIntosh grabbed the rebound.
McCall led Concordia with 17 points, Gross had 14 and eight assists and Starks had 12 points and eight rebounds. McIntosh led Greensburg with 25 points, Sellers scored 19 and Welage 17.
The game was very well played as Concordia shot 51 percent from the floor and Greensburg 48 percent. The Cadets had only eight turnovers and the Pirates nine. There were five ties and five lead changes.