Greenwood’s girls basketball team led Perry Meridian 14-10 at the end of the first quarter Wednesday, but it was a tenuous edge.
The visiting Woodmen had two players saddled with two fouls each. It was time for their inexperienced reserves to tread water until the starters could safely re-enter the contest.
As it turns out, Greenwood’s bench players did more than that. They helped put the game away in their team’s favor.
The Woodmen outscored the host Falcons 23-14 in the period, helped force seven turnovers and produced a pair of double-figure scorers. The starters took over from there, building a lead as large as 30 before settling for a 74-50 non-conference win.
Brooke Uebersetzig scored 13 points off the bench for Greenwood (4-3), six of which came in the second quarter, and fellow bench player Rachel Cox added 10 for the Woodmen.
Holly Hoopingarner, who played limited minutes in the second quarter with two fouls, didn’t commit another foul the rest of the game and finished with a triple-double (18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, all game highs) for Greenwood.
“Our bench came up big for us,” Greenwood coach Debbie Guckenberger said. “They made good decisions and did a little better job than the starters did adjusting. We gambled a bit with the starters (after the early foul trouble), but they played smart.”
Starters Maddy Renfro and Leah Moore each added 10 points, while Megan Overton scored nine. Cox pulled down nine rebounds and Moore grabbed eight as the Woodmen claimed a decisive 47-30 rebounding edge against the Falcons (3-3).
Greenwood also hit 18 of 20 from the free throw line, and its defense harassed Perry Meridian into a 13-of-51 shooting night (25.5 percent). The Woodmen’s foul trouble sent the Falcons to the free throw line 35 times, but they hit just 21 (60 percent).
“We played hard and battled for loose balls; you don’t know when it’ll be your turn to step up,” Uebersetzig said. “Our zone contained them and held down their 3-point shooting. It was a team effort defensively.”
D’Anjrea Allen led Perry Meridian with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Jessie Spencer added nine points off the bench.
The game took on a frenetic pace at times with Perry Meridian pressing and both teams pushing the ball up the floor at every opportunity.
That led to some sloppy possessions and the glut of fouls (43 combined), but Guckenberger said she was happy to see the Falcons apply full-court pressure.
“That’s to our advantage,” she said. “Defensively, we felt like we could go 2-3 (zone) on makes and pressure them on misses and give them fits.”
The Woodmen return to action Saturday at Mid-State Conference rival Martinsville.