Woodmen celebrate Senior Night with win

Throughout much of Holly Hoopingarner’s high school career, the Greenwood girls basketball standout has carried the load for her team.

Tuesday, in her final home game, her teammates — several of whom were also playing at home for the last time — picked up Hoopingarner when she needed the help.

Hoopingarner, an IUPUI recruit and Indiana All-Star candidate, went to the bench with her second foul with two minutes remaining in the first quarter and sat out the rest of the first half.

Her teammates held serve, outscoring visiting Southport 22-17 while Hoopingarner sat. Greenwood had four double-figure scorers en route to a senior night win against the Cardinals 60-51.

Hoopingarner still led Greenwood with 18 points, but only three came in the first half. Fellow seniors Maddy Renfro, Jae Taft and Brooke Uebersetzig each scored 10 points, with 23 of their combined 30 points coming in the first half.

Meanwhile, Megan Overton, another senior, went scoreless but pulled down a team-high nine rebounds and initiated several Greenwood fast breaks.

“Overton was phenomenal with her rebounding and her outlet passes, and that made it easier,” Greenwood coach Lee Taft said. “Early on (in the season), we got close to having four double-figure scorers, but then we hit a slump. (Tuesday), we had a lot of possessions where everyone touched the ball.”

Greenwood’s aggressive, trapping defense harassed Southport (10-10) into 23 turnovers, while the Woodmen committed just eight. That helped offset a 40-23 Cardinals rebounding advantage.

The Woodmen (11-9) gradually built a 45-32 lead late in the third quarter, but Southport ended the period with back-to-back baskets to cut the lead to nine.

That’s when Hoopingarner, who only had nine points at the time, asserted herself. She found Renfro for a layup to open the fourth-quarter scoring, then converted a layup on an outlet pass from Overton, hit one of two free throws and converted another transition layup.

That built Greenwood’s lead to 52-36 with 5:28 left, and Southport would never draw closer than the final nine-point margin after that.

The Woodmen have now won two of their past three games after enduring a 1-7 stretch before that. Greenwood won its first six games and eight of its first nine before hitting its mid-season slide.

“The last three games, we’ve gotten back to playing the way we played at the beginning of the year,” Taft said. “We were too passive earlier. When we can guard-pressure, we can force a lot of 25- to 30-foot passes and that gives teams problems.”

Southport’s Emma DeHart led all scorers with 21 points and 12 rebounds. The Cardinals’ 6-foot-3 junior center, Jaelencia Williams, added 11 points and 10 boards.

Greenwood returns to action Friday night at Mid-State Conference rival Decatur Central.

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Adam Wire is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.