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Greenwood pulls away in final quarter

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Greenwood advanced in the Class 4A Whiteland Sectional on Tuesday with a 59-27 first-round girls basketball win against the host Warriors.

But Whiteland didn’t make things easy for the Woodmen despite what the score indicates.

Whiteland forced Greenwood into 18 turnovers while committing 16 itself and had all but one Woodmen starter saddled with two fouls at halftime. Greenwood starting point guard Holly Hoopingarner had three.

In spite of that, Greenwood held a 27-12 halftime lead and asserted itself even more with a 12-0 run to start the fourth quarter. The Woodmen shot 44.7 percent from the floor (21 of 47), but Whiteland managed to hit only 18.4 percent of its field-goal tries (7 of 38).

“In spurts, we played well, but we need to do a better job taking care of the ball and with our shot selection,” Greenwood coach Debbie Guckenberger said. “We had way too many turnovers, and that’s a credit to (Whiteland). They played hard.”

While Greenwood might have struggled in those areas, it dominated the rebounding, grabbing 41 boards to Whiteland’s 21.

Woodmen forward Megan Overton led everyone with nine rebounds, while Sarah McLeod corralled eight despite sitting out the second quarter with two fouls. Every Greenwood starter pulled down at least five rebounds, which also enabled the Woodmen to take nine more shots than the Warriors.

“That was big, especially in the second half,” Guckenberger said. “We got a lot of putbacks. Whiteland was outsized. A couple of times, they were in position. We were just bigger.”

Hoopingarner overcame her foul trouble to score 14 points and grab five rebounds. Brittany Gray took over in the paint in the fourth quarter, when she scored 10 of her game-high 16 points.

McLeod added eight points, Madison Renfro scored seven off the bench and Sydney Hite contributed six points for Greenwood (9-11).

The Woodmen advance to play New Palestine (9-10) in Friday’s second semifinal game, which will start at approximately 7:30 p.m. The Dragons won the regular-season match-up between the teams 55-47 on Feb. 1.

Meanwhile, Whiteland’s season ended with a 1-20 record. Warriors coach Kyle Shipp was happy with his team’s defensive effort Tuesday but admitted poor shooting and rebounding was its downfall.

“We felt like we got good looks, we just couldn’t knock down shots,” Shipp said. “We had them in foul trouble. Our goal was to hit 20 free throws, and we thought if we did that, it would be a decent game in the fourth quarter.”

Instead, Whiteland also struggled from the free-throw line, hitting just 13 of 31 (41.9 percent). Greenwood, meanwhile, connected on 72.7 percent of its shots from the line (16 of 22).

“Our kids played hard. We just need to make better decisions and take care of the basketball if we’re going to win Friday,” Guckenberger said.

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