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Wildcats nip Trojans in OT for MIC crown

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Center Grove’s girls basketball team fell 95 seconds short of a Metropolitan Conference championship Friday.

Lawrence North’s Destiny Washington grabbed the Wildcats’ third offensive rebound on the possession and scored a putback basket with 1:35 remaining, tying the game 50-all and erasing a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit.

Class 4A No. 6 Lawrence North then took over in overtime, scoring 13 points in four minutes to edge the visiting Trojans 63-57 and clinch the MIC tile.

The loss dropped Center Grove to 14-5 overall and 5-1 in league play.

The Trojans round out their conference schedule at home Jan. 29 against Carmel. A win would have clinched a tie for the conference title, but the Wildcats claimed the title outright with Friday’s victory.

“We won for 31 minutes,” Center Grove coach Shawn Sanders said. “Lawrence North is a great team. They’re as athletic as any team we’ve played. They have two (NCAA) Division I commits (senior Mikale Rogers, an IUPUI signee, and junior Ana Owens, a Cincinnati recruit), and we were really happy with the way the girls competed.”

The Trojans led 45-38 after Bri Gliesmann scored off a turnover with 7:37 left in regulation. But Lawrence North (16-3, 7-0) slowly chipped away at the lead. The Wildcats finally tied it with Washington’s basket, and four different Wildcats scored in overtime.

The Trojans matched the taller Wildcats’ rebounding total (36 each) and held them to 35.3 percent shooting (24 of 68) but committed 25 turnovers. Lawrence North lost the ball 11 times in the first half, but only four in the second half and overtime.

“I don’t want to play them again,” Lawrence North coach Chris Giffin said of Center Grove. “They’re a well-coached team, they stay within themselves, and they play a zone that we’re not used to seeing. It obviously gave us problems.

“In the first half, we forced the ball into the post too much, but we made better decisions in the second half.”

Both teams had balanced scoring. Ali Line led the Trojans with 11 points, while Gliesmann and Lauren Weidman each scored nine points. Regan Wentland and Bobbie Clayton added eight apiece for Center Grove.

Weidman and Wentland each pulled down six rebounds.

Rogers and Jordan Hankins scored 17 points apiece for Lawrence North, while Owens added 13. Lamina Cooper grabbed 14 rebounds for the Wildcats, and her lone field goal of the game was a 3-pointer with 2:03 remaining in overtime that gave Lawrence North the lead for good.

“We expected to win, and the loss is devastating, but we get to play again Tuesday,” Sanders said. “This will only make us better. The girls knew what they had to do to win, and they did it for 31 minutes.

“That’s why they’re so devastated.”

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