DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
For the first three quarters, the North Central High School girls basketball team kept Greenwood in complete check.
The fourth quarter was an entirely different story.
Greenwood scored the first 15 points of the fourth quarter to close the deficit to four points. Unfortunately for the host Woodmen, the fierce rally wasn’t quite enough to get the job done as they lost to the Panthers 56-48 on Friday night.
“If we could bottle up that energy and play with that intensity
for 32 minutes, we’d be in business,” Greenwood coach Debbie Guckenberger said. “I was proud of the girls. We fought back.”
North Central (7-8) led 30-12
at halftime and 46-27 after
“We cut it to four and had the ball,” said Guckenberger, whose team’s record dropped to 5-9. “We had ourselves in position. We just couldn’t quite get over the hump at the end.”
North Central’s Ajah Stallings sank two free throws with 2:40 left in the fourth quarter to boost the Panthers’ lead to 48-42. That was North Central’s first points of the final quarter.
Greenwood narrowed the gap to four one more time, but the Panthers got a quick answer to to make it 50-44. Woodmen junior guard Holly Hoopingarner scored 14 of her 29 points in the fourth quarter to pace the comeback attempt.
“We hit some free throws at crucial times and kind of got them rattled with the pressure,” Guckenberger said.
Guckenberger said the Woodmen fell in the big hole because the girls were attacking the
“We were settling for shots, and we weren’t hitting,” Guckenberger said. “When you are not hitting outside, you’ve got to attack the basket. You have to have someone who is willing to take it to them and get you free throws.
“We didn’t get to the free-throw line hardly at all until the
Guckenberger said North Central’s athleticism and depth played a factor in Greenwood’s struggles early.
“They’re a good team and
they play a tough schedule,”
Guckenberger said. “They’re athletic and they hustle.”
North Central coach DeeAnn Ramey said her team got too
comfortable with the lead in
“We made some poor decisions,” Ramey said. “We took some bad shots and didn’t get back on defense. We thought Greenwood was going to allow us to continue to build our lead. But (the Woodmen) are fighters. Hoopingarner is a great player, and they’re not going to give up.”
Ramey said Hoopingarner seemed to take more control and more shots in the second half.
“We did not have help-side (defense) at all,” Ramey said. “Our help-side defense was being lazy.”
Sophomore guard De’Shawna Harper led the Panthers’ balanced attack with 11 points.