DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
It wasn’t hard for Greenwood girls basketball coach Debbie Guckenberger to identify the difference in the game.
Greenwood made its free throws and Franklin didn’t in the fourth quarter Friday night.
Junior guard Holly Hoopingarner hit 7 of 8 free throws in
the final quarter to lift the visiting Woodmen to a 48-41 victory at Franklin in Mid-State Conference action.
Hoopingarner made 12 of 13 free throws overall en route to
“She’s just hard to defend and hard to contain and keep from getting the ball,” Guckenberger said. “We were bound and determined to keep getting her the ball because she’s our best free-throw shooter.
“We want to make sure she gets the ball at the end of the game.”
It was a night when Hoopingarner (2 of 12) struggled from the field along with most of her team. But free throws pulled the Woodmen through.
“Last time we played them we were 9 of 30 (from the line),” said Guckenberger, whose team lost to Franklin 40-39 in the Johnson County Tournament on Nov. 21.
The victory broke a four-game losing streak for the Woodmen (5-7, 2-2 Mid-State).
“We had lost a few games in a row,” Hoopingarner said. “It was a big win. We needed it in conference. We got down early. We weren’t hitting and that sort of thing. At halftime we talked about coming together as a team and making shots. Offense started working for us. In the second half, it started falling for us.
“Our team did well shooting free throws (Friday night). That is what hurt us last time (against Franklin), and we decided that was going to be the deciding factor in the game.”
Guckenberger said it was hard for both teams to get in a rhythm offensively because there were a lot of fouls called.
“It was a team effort,” she said. “One of our starters, Megan (Overton), went down early with a injury, and I thought we were in big-time trouble because she’s our playmaker and rebounder.
“Leah (Moore), our freshman, came in the second half and gave us a spark and got to the boards. Her hustle and her getting rebounds made all the difference.”
Moore scored six of her eight points in the third quarter before fouling out. Franklin (6-5, 1-2) led 20-16 at halftime, but the game was tied at 31-all after three quarters.
Franklin coach Walt Raines said his Grizzly Cubs being 14 of 29 from the free-throw line was costly.
“We had the game fairly close to where we wanted it, and we didn’t hit the free throws,” Raines said. “Holly had a heck of a game. We played her pretty tough, but she was able to keep herself in the game (despite four fouls), and that hurt us. I thought our kids played hard. I thought we put an effort into things.
“Each free throw we missed it seemed we got a little tighter, and that hurt us. it was a good hard-fought game. That’s what we and Greenwood have.”
Greenwood’s next game is Dec. 30 at Brownsburg. Franklin returns to action Dec. 30 at Southport.