DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
In a game that featured three double-digit scoring runs, any of which could have decided lots of contests, Greenwood Christian Academy pieced together two of them, and the last one swung Thursday’s home game against budding rival Edinburgh.
The host Cougars, trailing 39-34 at the end of three quarters, scored the fourth period’s first 14 points, building a 48-39 edge with 2:30 remaining. The Lancers never drew closer than six after that as Greenwood Christian claimed a 52-45 victory over their county and Class A sectional rivals.
Both teams moved to 4-5 as the Cougars snapped Edinburgh’s three-game winning streak while winning their third game in their past four tries. Greenwood Christian sophomore guard Grace Apgar, who led the Cougars with 16 points, credited communication with their success during their runs.
“This was a big win for us,” she said. “Edinburgh is supposed to be the top team in our sectional. During our runs, we communicated as a team and all came together.”
The Cougars’ first big run, another 14-0 run that spanned the first and second quarters, turned a 12-8 Edinburgh lead into a 22-12 Greenwood Christian advantage. Immediately after that run ended, however, the Lancers closed the half with a 16-0 run of their own, including the first bucket of the third quarter, building a 28-22 lead in the process.
“Our big run came when we had a lot of people playing off the bench,” Edinburgh coach Amy Macy said. “We put pressure on them and got some steals during our run. We didn’t have the same intensity during their runs.
“If we would play as hard as we practice, we might have three losses instead of five.”
Edinburgh used 13 players, who combined to produce 15 points. Greenwood Christian used a six-player rotation until coach Alan Weems emptied his bench in the closing seconds.
In addition to Apgar, Sarah Mangan scored 13 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds for the Cougars. Grace Peters added 11 points and five boards, while Hannah Peters contributed nine points. Katie Cruse chipped in three points and five rebounds.
Mariah Weddle led Edinburgh with 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds. She scored 10 of those points in the first quarter, before Greenwood Christian packed in its 2-3 zone defense tighter into the post, denying Weddle many shot opportunities. She attempted just two shots in the second half, and the Cougars began their second-quarter run when Weddle was on the bench.
“It was all about defense,” Weems said. “In the 2-3, the kids did a good job talking and didn’t give them easy shots. Edinburgh’s going to score some points. They’re well-coached, and they play hard.
“You just have to weather those runs.”
That defense helped force Edinburgh into 26 turnovers. The Cougars lost the ball 17 times, but just twice in the fourth quarter. Their attack-the-basket offense earned them 22 trips to the free-throw line (they hit 12 for 54.5 percent), and they attempted just five 3-pointers, hitting two.
Edinburgh hosts Milan on Saturday. Greenwood Christian Academy plays Manual on Dec. 16 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.