For a good chunk of the first half Tuesday night, the Center Grove girls basketball looked like world-beaters, playing shutdown defense and scoring almost at will.
Unfortunately for the Trojans, that dominating run wasn’t enough to overcome the edge that Brownsburg held over the rest of the game.
Center Grove couldn’t maintain the 10-point lead it built during the first half and dropped a hard-fought 47-42 decision in its home-opener.
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”I think we just let them speed us up a little bit,” Center Grove junior guard Ella Thompson said, “and then defensively we just couldn’t keep them out of the lane. We let them get too many offensive rebounds, too many easy layups, but we’ll fix that.”
The Trojans (2-1) stumbled out of the gate, spotting the Bulldogs a 10-0 lead through the first four minutes before finally getting on the board with a long Emma Utterback jumper.
That basket, though, started what turned into a 22-2 Center Grove run over the next six-plus minutes. Thompson scored 10 of those points, including a pair of 3-pointers, to give the home team a 10-point cushion.
”We just kind of slowed down,” Thompson said. “We moved the ball well on offense; we got really good looks. And then when they did press us, we were able to break it and get some easy looks.”
Brownsburg (3-0) ended the drought with a 3 and trimmed the deficit to 25-24 by halftime, then outscored the Trojans 10-3 over the first 3:48 of the third quarter to regain the upper hand at 34-28.
Cassidy Hardin hit a pair from downtown early in the final period to get Center Grove within three at 39-36, and she added a steal and layup with 3:14 left to cut it to 42-40, but the Trojans, who finished with 20 turnovers on the night, couldn’t get over the hump.
”It’s a tough loss, but we can definitely learn a lot from it,” said Thompson, who paced Center Grove with 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists. “Just being smarter with the ball, taking care of it down the stretch and making sure we get the looks we want.”
Hardin added 11 points and three steals for the Trojans, who are back at home against Warren Central on Thursday.