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Hawks edge Woodmen by hitting free throws

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Host Decatur Central’s offensive attack gave visiting Greenwood all kinds of chances to win its fourth straight league decision.

But the Hawks were just too good at the free-throw line in a 46-43 decision Friday night.

The result improved the Hawks to 2-3 in the Mid-State Conference and 3-13 in all games, ending a four-game losing skid overall. The Woodmen’s loss dropped them to 3-3 in the league and 7-9 overall.

The decisive fourth quarter went much like the opening period for Greenwood, which committed too many turnovers (seven), most of which were steals by the hosts.

Decatur Central did well to get to the stripe in the final eight minutes and took advantage, hitting 10 of 16 foul shots.

In fact, the Hawks made 17 of 24 free throws (70.8 percent) for the game, which made up for their ice-cold field-goal shooting (13 of 42 for just 30.9 percent).

Greenwood fought back from a nine-point deficit in the second quarter and grabbed its first lead with 2:08 remaining in the third on two foul shots from sophomore guard Holly Hoopingarner.

The Woodmen regained a one-point edge twice early in the fourth period before senior Shelbi Patterson scored two consecutive layups to put the Hawks ahead for good.

Greenwood fell behind by six but battled back again to close within three on a basket by Hoopingarner with 46 seconds to go. The Woodmen had a chance to send the contest into overtime, but senior Sydney Hite’s 3-point shot at the buzzer was off the mark.

Hoopingarner led all scorers with 17 points. Senior center Brittany Gray contributed nine points and six rebounds for the visitors.

Patterson and Kayla Williams paced the Hawks with 11 and nine points, respectively.

Greenwood struggled mightily in the opening period, scoring just four points. The Woodmen matched their eight field-goal attempts with as many turnovers.

However, Greenwood regrouped in the second quarter as Hoopingarner, Brittany Gray and Hite scored two baskets apiece, and the visitors took much better care of the basketball in the period.

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