Center Grove wasted little time in putting away Greenwood Christian, rolling to a 63-17 win in the opening round of the Johnson County Tournament on Tuesday at Greenwood Christian.
The Trojans forced 12 turnovers in the first quarter, led 18-3 after the opening stanza and never looked back.
“I was really pleased with our girls’ approach in the pregame. They’re just starting to understand how to approach a game to be successful,” Center Grove coach Kevin Stuckmeyer said. “They were prepared game plan-wise, and they were able to execute it.”
It took a few minutes for the Trojans (4-1) to get their wheels rolling, but once they did, there was no stopping them. Cassidy Hardin broke a 3-3 tie with just over four minutes left to play in the first quarter, and the Trojans closed the frame on a 15-0 run to blow open the game.
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Center Grove’s run eventually reached 22 straight points early in the second, making it 35-5 midway through the quarter. The Trojans led 39-7 at the half.
“Our goal coming into tonight was not to give in, play hard all the way through, and we did that,” Greenwood Christian coach Alan Weems said. “We were under no illusions. We knew coming in that this was going to be a difficult game. (Center Grove) is very good.”
The biggest key to the game was Center Grove’s ability to turn the Cougars over. Greenwood Christian (1-2) committed 22 turnovers in the first half, a vast majority of which came in the halfcourt against the Trojans’ suffocating man-to-man defense.
“That’s our defense against anybody. Being up the line, ball pressure, keeping them to one side of the floor, and I thought we did a really good job of that,” Stuckmeyer said.
Center Grove kept the pedal down in the third, outscoring the Cougars 15-2, then cruised to the win in the fourth.
Greenwood Christian finished the game with 33 turnovers to just eight by Center Grove.
Hardin knocked down four 3-pointers and scored 16 points to lead the Trojans while Emma Utterback scored 11. Sarah Mangan led Greenwood Christian with six points.
Center Grove advances to play a semifinal against Greenwood. That game will be played on Thursday at Franklin instead of Friday due to the Greenwood football team’s semistate game at East Central.
Greenwood Christian will play Indian Creek on Friday in the consolation round.