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Trojan seniors go out in style with win over Carmel

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Shelby Shaffer and Lauren Weidman played their last games at Center Grove High School’s gym Tuesday night. Judging by their performance, they’re going to miss the place.

Shaffer dished out five assists, while Weidman poured in 27 points, including seven 3-pointers, as the host Trojans concluded regular-season play with a 63-51 win over Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference rival Carmel. Center Grove finished the season unbeaten at home (8-0).

The win snapped a six-game losing streak against the Greyhounds and ended the Trojans’ regular season with a 15-5 overall record and 6-1 in MIC play. The latter tied the program’s best conference mark. Carmel fell to 10-9.

Weidman was instrumental in determining Tuesday’s outcome. Center Grove took control of the game with an 18-3 run that spanned the second and third quarters. During that stretch, Weidman hit four 3-pointers and a layup to account for 14 of the Trojans’ points.

“We expect it from her,” said Shaffer of her senior backcourt mate. “She’s our best shooter, and it’s a blast to play with her.”

The last of Weidman’s 3-pointers during that run built the Trojans’ biggest lead, 38-20, with 6:36 remaining in the third quarter, but Carmel wasn’t done.

The Greyhounds hit their first five fourth-quarter shots, including four 3-pointers, to whittle the lead down to 51-46. The Trojans’ lead was 53-48 with five minutes remaining, but Center Grove worked the ball patiently and found Regan Wentland, who hit a three with 4:05 remaining. Those were the first of 10 straight Trojan points, and Carmel never threatened after that.

“She’s got a knack for hitting shots in big-time moments, and she did it again tonight,” said Center Grove coach Shawn Sanders of Wentland, who finished with six points, four rebounds and a game-high five blocked shots. “She had a big block for us, she makes all the little plays and she has a good basketball IQ.”

Center Grove took fast breaks when they were available, which helped its field goal percentage (54.3 percent, 25 of 46), but the Trojans also hit 10 of 19 from 3-point range. Weidman made 7 of 11 from beyond the arc and 9 of 15 overall.

“We all dream of having a Senior Night like that,” said Sanders of Weidman. “Carmel defended pretty well, but our players were smart enough to look for her.”

Bri Gliesmann added 10 points off the bench for the Trojans, while teammate Madison Kolthoff scored nine, including seven straight during the decisive fourth-quarter run. Ali Line scored six points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds for Center Grove.

J.J. Williams led Carmel with 23 points, while Emily Kmec added 14. She hit four 3-pointers in a four-minute span of the third and fourth quarters to get the Greyhounds back in the game.

Carmel coach Scott Bowen thought Wentland’s 3-pointer was a key play in the game.

“That bumped the lead back to eight, and we expended a lot of energy coming back,” Bowen said. “I was proud of the way Kmec shot the ball. Defensively, we didn’t find their hot shooter (Weidman) and they did a nice job moving the ball.”

Center Grove is off until Tuesday when it plays Franklin Central in the Class 4A Franklin Sectional. The eighth-ranked Flashes defeated Center Grove in their holiday tournament on Dec. 27.

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