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Cold-shooting Trojans fall to Panthers

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The Center Grove boys basketball team traveled to Bloomington South Thursday night looking to end a four-game losing streak.

That drought continued, though, because of a dreadful shooting night.

The host Panthers jumped on Center Grove early and kept up the pressure throughout in cruising to a 65-44 win.

Bloomington South used a 14-4 run over the final three minutes of the first quarter to take a 21-9 lead.

Center Grove opened the second quarter with six straight points, including four by junior Tyler Bryant when he was fouled while making a 3-pointer.

That started a quarter of frustration for the Trojans. They forced 10 Bloomington South turnovers and limited them to just six shots from the field. But each time Center Grove cut into the lead, the Panthers answered with a 3-pointer. They hit four during the period, including two by sophomore Johnny Jager, and kept a 10-point lead at halftime, 33-23.

Three times in the third quarter Center Grove cut the lead to eight. But the Panthers always had an answer from behind the arc. Meanwhile, the Trojans could not string makes together.

Center Grove, in fact, had trouble making shots at all. The Trojans were snake-bit from every spot on the court as layups, mid-range jumpers and deep threes all rattled out. They ended the game hitting only 14 of 56 shots from the field (25 percent). They were especially poor from long-range, making only two of 24 3-point attempts.

Coach Cliff Hawkins said the Trojans’ shooting woes were too much to overcome.

“I thought we really worked to take it inside. We really worked on the offensive glass. We really defended pretty well. We did a lot of things right tonight,” he said. “But my goodness, if the ball doesn’t go in on the offensive end ... You go 2-24 from outside, and it’s awfully hard to win a ballgame.”

He added that there was a lesson in their shooting struggles for the young Trojan squad.

“This team has to come to a realization that, ‘OK, if we can’t make those outside shots what can we do to win?’” Hawkins said.

Senior Troy Vorhies had a game-high 20 points and eight rebounds to lead the Trojans (6-10).

Jager went 7 of 8 from the field, includling 5 of 5 from 3-point range, to pace Bloomington South with 19 points. The Panthers (9-8) hit 22 of 40 shots (55 percent) to counter their 22 turnovers.

Center Grove hosts Terre Haute South on Saturday.

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