DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
It was senior night at Center Grove and the senior girls had one main focus.
“The whole game they were yelling for me to shoot every time,” senior guard Jessica Norris said.
In the third quarter of a 54-18 rout of visiting Bloomington North, they got their wish. Norris hit her fourth 3-pointer to set the school season record. She finished with five 3-pointers in 12 attempts en route to team-high 17 points.
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Norris now has 69 3-pointers, breaking the old school record of 67 by Sarah Eckart (2000-01).
“On the one where I broke it, Regan (Wentland) threw me the ball and was screaming at me to shoot it,” said Norris, laughing.
Center Grove coach Shawn Sanders, whose team improved to 17-6, hopes Norris will keep adding to that record.
“Hopefully she’s got some more 3-pointers in her next week in the sectional,” Sanders said.
“She shot the ball really well. She got invited to a national 3-point shooting contest in Chicago, and she’s excited about that.
“Jess has had the season of all seasons. She’s been super special.”
Norris came off the bench last season.
“I practiced a lot,” Norris said of her improvement. “It’s not what I expected this season.”
In fact, it has surpassed her expectations, she said.
Sanders said the girls chose to have senior night ceremony after the game.
“They wanted to make sure they were focused and ready for the game,” Sanders said. “I think that showed a lot of maturity by them. Regan, Ali (Line) and Bri (Gliesmann) are four-year starters for the most part.
“They went out on a high note, and hopefully there is more to come next week.”
The Indiana State-bound Wentland, in particular, was choked up as she left the home playing court and during the ceremony.
“Always,” Norris said of Wentland being emotional. “The rest of us kept it together.”
Sanders said the team worked on a lot of things against the struggling Cougars (2-22).
“It was some last-minute fine-tuning before we play Whiteland on Tuesday (in the Class 4A sectional at Greenwood),” Sanders said.
“I thought we did a nice job executing some stuff. There are some things we need to tweak. (The girls) made the adjustments they needed to make. I was really pleased, especially on offense.
“I know we didn’t score a ton of points because we were trying to play in the half court. We told Lauren (Rau) we didn’t want to run every time. I think our transition has been pretty strong. We didn’t shoot super well, but we got the shots we wanted.”
The Trojans, who led 30-6 at halftime, were 21 of 52 from the field and committed just five turnovers. Line added nine points. The Trojans subbed frequently in the second half, giving several players a chance to play.
“We’re playing really well going into sectional,” Sanders said. “That’s what every coach can hope for.”