Center Grove was able to match Brownsburg’s speed and athleticism Thursday afternoon, but the Trojans struggled trying to shut down the Bulldogs’ dominant inside game.
Playing in the consolation game of the Franklin Central Holiday Tournament, the Trojans’ girls squad dropped a 61-50 decision.
For the Bulldogs, senior center Stephanie Mavunga had a game-high 24 points and 20 rebounds.
“You’re not going to stop her, so our game plan was to take a gap defender and dig down while trying to get her to pick her dribble up,” said Center Grove coach Shawn Sanders. “We just didn’t have an answer for her today.”
Rebounding in general was a challenge for Center Grove as Brownsburg posted a 45-23 advantage.
“They killed us on the boards,” Sanders said. “You’re not going to win games when you have a deficit like that.”
Despite playing the Bulldogs even for most of the game, a slow start ultimately doomed the Trojans, who connected on just 17 of their 58 shots from the field.
Center Grove trailed by 10 points at the end of the game’s opening quarter.
“We came out flat and were very timid,” said Sanders. “I think the game against Franklin Central took a lot out of us.”
Earlier in the same day, the Flashes advanced to their own tournament’s title game by defeating the Trojans, 68-57, despite a 15-point effort by sophomore Bri Gliesmann.
“Franklin Central is very balanced and physical,” Sanders said. “They’re young, but savvy and they don’t make mistakes. They make their free throws and are very fundamental. In my opinion, they’re one of the top teams in the state.”
Against Brownsburg, Center Grove trailed by 18 points midway through the third quarter before managing to trim the deficit to five. The Bulldogs briefly regained momentum in the fourth, but the Trojans again pulled within five before costly turnovers and fouls ultimately did them in.
“We got messed up a little on our rotations in the third quarter, but I’m very proud of our bench players because they came in and made a run for us. Overall, it didn’t feel like we gave up, and that says a lot about this team. This was a growing game for us. Hopefully, it will help us get ready for the second half of the season,” Sanders said.
Senior Lauren Weidman led the Trojans with 14 points against the Bulldogs.
Franklin Central won the tourney with a 53-51 victory against Mooresville.