Woodmen fall short at Roncalli

Greenwood Community High School’s girls basketball team didn’t have to face Roncalli standout Lindsey Corsaro on Wednesday, but her absence didn’t appear to matter much early.

As the game progressed, however, the Woodmen took advantage and nearly stole a win from the host and heavily favored Rebels.

Greenwood rallied from a 14-point first-quarter deficit to take a 40-39 third-quarter lead, but Roncalli held off the Woodmen’s charge and claimed a 64-59 victory.

The win extended the Rebels’ winning streak against Johnson County schools to 10. Greenwood was the most recent county school to defeat Roncalli (63-51 on Dec. 22, 2011).

Corsaro, a University of Kentucky recruit who averages over 27 points and 10 rebounds per game, sat out the game with a foot injury that Rebels coach Stan Benge described as day-to-day.

Despite that, Roncalli (17-3) controlled the first half and led 34-23 at intermission. The Woodmen (10-9), however, outscored the Rebels 17-5 in the first 6:30 of the third quarter to take their only lead.

Holly Hoopingarner and Jae Taft scored all of Greenwood’s third-quarter points and accounted for 43 of the Woodmen’s 59 points overall.

Hoopingarner finished with 28 points, 18 of which came in the second half. Taft, who missed all six of her first-half shot attempts, rallied to add 15 points, including seven in the third quarter.

“At the beginning, (Roncalli) was very aggressive, and we could have gotten blown out,” Greenwood coach Lee Taft said. “During our comeback, we hit some key shots, defended well when we needed to, and we got confident.”

The Woodmen made one last charge after Roncalli took a 60-53 lead with 1:49 left. Hoopingarner and Alex Kincaid each hit a pair of free throws, then Hoopingarner converted a layup off a turnover with 52 seconds left to cut the Rebels’ lead to 60-59.

Hoopingarner, however, was called for traveling on Greenwood’s next offensive possession when a basket would have given the Woodmen the lead.

After Roncalli’s Rachel Titzer hit a pair of free throws to make it 62-59 with 24.3 seconds left, Hoopingarner missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer, and the Woodmen didn’t score again.

“We wanted to get out on Taft and Hoopingarner because they’re both really good players, and everyone else needed to help,” Benge said. “The first four or five minutes of the game were as good as we’ve played in a long time. After that, we didn’t defend as well.”

Daesjah Ely led the Rebels with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Ellie Bischoff added 13 points. Both players came off the bench for Roncalli. Titzer contributed 10 points and seven rebounds for the Rebels.

Megan Overton scored seven points and grabbed a team-best seven rebounds for Greenwood.

The Woodmen host Southport next Tuesday in their regular-season home finale.

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Adam Wire is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.