Fouls and free throws proved to be the difference Thursday as the Greenwood girls basketball team lost 56-47 Thursday night at Greenfield-Central.
The Cougars went to the foul line 43 times compared to just four for Greenwood, with the Woodmen being whistled to 26 fouls, compared to just 11 for the Cougars.
Greenwood coach Debbie Guckenberger had some issues with the disparity in fouls called but didn’t place all the blame at the feet of the game officials.
“We have to do a better job of getting to the free throw line,” Guckenberger said. “I thought they missed a lot of calls where we were driving to the basket, especially two or three times late in the game, on the arm where there was no call. But you’re going to have that.
“We’ve got to be more aggressive going to the basket to draw the foul.”
Last week , Greenfield-Central clinched the program’s first Hoosier Heritage Conference championship, and Doug Laker’s Cougars showed no signs of a letdown. Their 5-foot-11 freshman Madison Wise scored 11 points in the first half to pace her team to a 27-13 halftime lead. Wise frequently established position in the low post to convert field goals, with her team shooting 8 for 16 overall in the half.
Greenwood (7-11) was bedeviled by 6 for 28 field goal shooting over the same two quarters, with a number of shots taking a peek down the cylinder before spinning out.
Employing a taller lineup in the second half, Greenwood produced a slow burn of a comeback, cutting the deficit to just six points midway through the fourth quarter. The Lady Woodmen got some key basket from seniors Rachel McLeod and Brittany Gray, as well as from sophomore point guard Holly Hoopingarner to give themselves a chance to win.
At that point, Wise delivered blocked shots on consecutive possessions and added a couple of key rebounds as the Cougars (13-6) regained control of the game in the closing minutes.
Guckenberger was happy with her team’s comeback but disappointed with the team’s inability to finish the effort.
“I felt like they out-hustled us in the last three or four minutes, beating us to loose balls and tying up rebounds,” she said. “You have to play with more emotion when the game is on the line. We had gotten things going, and they started to make turnovers, but in the end they just out-battled us.”
Wise closed the game with 19 points and nine rebounds, with Regan Lewis adding 17 points and nine rebounds. Hoopingarner led all scorers with 20 points while Gray had nine points and seven rebounds and McLeod eight points and five boards.
Guckenberger believes the game will serve as an effective platform to prepare the team for next week’s sectional.
“We have to find a way to finish near the basket. We didn’t run quality offense in the first half and took ill-advised shots (6-for-28 field goal shooting in that half),” she said. “In the second half we figured out what would work. We put a taller lineup in. We hit our post players and got some easy baskets, which opened up our outside game too. Offensively it was like night and day from the first half to the second. We figured out what will work for us and what will not.
“Hopefully we can learn from this game and make a note that we need to get to the free throw line. Four throw attempts in varsity girls basketball is unheard of.”
Greenwood concludes regular-season play tonight against visiting Indian Creek.