The Center Grove Trojans girls basketball team used several first-half scoring runs and a 13-point run in the fourth quarter to defeat Plainfield 43-27 in Tuesday’s season-opener.
Plainfield took an early lead on a 3-point shot from Kyla Smith and held a 4-2 lead after a free throw from Indira Peters. Center Grove responded with a six-point run, with 3-pointers from Ella Thompson and Claire Rake.
A 13-point second quarter gave Center Grove a 21-14 lead going into halftime.
“Our defensive focus was able to cause havoc and create some turnovers and made some easy baskets,” said first-year Trojans coach Kevin Stuckmeyer.
The third quarter looked stronger for Plainfield, as it had its own six-point run, including a pair of steals and a 3-pointer from Kaiah Haberkorn. Plainfield got as close as three points in the third quarter, forcing a Center Grove timeout.
“The way the girls responded, on the road in a tough environment, we let Plainfield get close, and we came out and shut them out. The really speaks on their ‘refuse to lose’ mentality,” Stuckmeyer said.
Center Grove outscored Plainfield 15-4 in the fourth quarter to take the Quakers out of the game. The Trojans were able to get Plainfield into foul trouble in the fourth and made eight trips to the free-throw line, converting on each attempt.
Ashley Eck led the 13-point run late in the fourth quarter with five points. Thompson and Cassidy Hardin also combined to contribute six points from the free-throw line in the run.
“Our girls were composed. The system is new, a lot of things are new. When it came down to doing what they had to do, they were composed,” Stuckmeyer said. “Defensively, they slowed their minds down and forced them to earn it. We took the high percentage passes and plays.”