The Center Grove girls basketball team had an unusual goal for Thursday’s Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference opener against visiting Warren Central.
The Trojans wanted to enjoy the game more than they did Tuesday’s opening win against Southport.
While Center Grove coach Shawn Sanders confirmed after Thursday’s game that the Trojans accomplished that goal, the game itself couldn’t have hurt their quest for fun.
Center Grove outscored the Warriors 21-0 in a stretch that spanned the first and second quarters, using suffocating defense and an opportunistic offense en route to a 66-22 victory.
“We felt like we weren’t having fun Tuesday,” said senior Madi Kolthoff, who scored 17 first-half points before finishing with a game-high 19. “We communicated better in this game and we were encouraging each other.”
Warren Central, playing its season-opener, is coming off an 0-20 season, but Sanders was wary of first-year coach Tod Windlan and his team’s pressure defense. While the Trojans (2-0) committed 10 first-half turnovers, they harassed the Warriors into 21 first-half miscues of their own and 31 overall.
Warren Central, meanwhile, shot just 7 of 45 (15.6 percent) and missed all 17 of its 3-point tries. By comparison, Center Grove shot 43.4 percent from the floor (23 of 53) and hit 16 of 22 free throws (72.7 percent).
In addition to Kolthoff’s 19 points, Regan Wentland added 11 points and Lauren Rau chipped in 10. Bri Gliesmann scored eight points and tied teammate Ali Line and Warren Central’s Erika Forte for game-high honors with eight rebounds. Forte led the Warriors with 13 points off the bench.
“Last year, Lauren Weidman (who graduated) made a lot of shots for our team, and I felt like I had to step up and knock some shots down,” said Kolthoff, who hit all three of her 3-point attempts Thursday and shot 6 of 10 overall. “I was feeling it in the first quarter, so I kept shooting.”
Sanders was happy with his team’s defense and overall execution but was most happy with the Trojans’ approach to the game.
“We didn’t look like we played with a lot of passion Tuesday night,” he said. “We talked a little about what it means to be a part of this. (Thursday) when we made mistakes, it was while we were playing hard.
“We played with a lot of energy.”