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Woodmen fall short to Flashes

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In terms of championships, the Greenwood girls basketball team accomplished most of its goals, including winning Mid-State Conference and Johnson County Tournament titles.

But against Franklin Central on Saturday night, the Woodmen fell short of their ultimate target: To repeat as Class 4A sectional champions.

Greenwood led 15-10 after the first quarter, but that was before the ninth-ranked Flashes stepped up their full-court defense.

Franklin Central outscored the Woodmen 43-21 the rest of the way and cruised to a 53-36 win to claim the sectional crown at Franklin Community High School.

“I just felt like Franklin Central’s defensive pressure took us out of the game,” 10th-year Greenwood coach Debbie Guckenberger said. “They just had a great defensive effort. Our kids didn’t respond the way we would have liked.

“We just didn’t match their intensity on the defensive end.”

Franklin Central (19-4) held Greenwood (18-5) to 33 percent shooting from the field and forced 13 turnovers.

The Flashes made 19 of 46 field goals (41 percent) and outrebounded Greenwood 33-28.

No Woodmen players scored in double-digits. Freshman point guard Holly Hoopingarner and senior guard Jordan Unversaw led Greenwood with eight points each.

Seniors Deauna Evans, Chloe Orrvar and Kelsie Ratliff added six points each, and Evans grabbed a team-high six rebounds.

Greenwood opened the game with an 8-2 run by outpacing Franklin Central’s full-court press for several easy layups in transition.

But down 15-10 after the opening quarter, the Flashes stuck to their defensive game plan. Greenwood committed four turnovers during the first three minutes of the second period, which sparked a 9-2 Flashes run.

Franklin Central captured its first lead at 19-17 with 3:11 remaining in the half, and led 21-20 at halftime.

Greenwood pieced together a 4-0 run to open the second half, and led 24-21 at the 7:14 mark.

But the Flashes responded with a 5-2 run to recapture the lead for good, at 28-26, with 3:05 remaining in the third period.

Franklin Central never let up in the fourth quarter and outscored the Woodmen 20-8. The Flashes led by as many as 19 points before closing out the win.

Franklin Central senior point guard Lizzy Pedigo led all scores with 15 points and recorded a game-high 10 rebounds.

Sophomore guard Kennedy Archer scored 14 points, and senior guard Julia Arnold added nine points for the Flashes.

Guckenberger said she regrets that Greenwood’s six seniors — Taylor Brooks, Sheridan Estell and starters Evans, Orrvar, Ratliff and Unversaw — ended their careers with such a tough loss.

Having claimed a previous sectional crown, two conference titles and a Johnson County Tournament championship, Guckenberger said theirs was the most successful class she’s coached at Greenwood.

“They, by far, have the most wins in their four-year career than anybody in Greenwood school history,” Guckenberger said. “So I think that’s a big legacy. Their legacy also is hard work pays off.

“They’re great kids that gave good leadership off and on the court.”

But Guckenberger is confident Greenwood is in good shape for next year with the return of experienced players such as Hoopingarner, junior center Brittany Gray, junior forward Sarah McLeod and junior guard Sydney Hite.

“I think we’ll be fine,” Guckenberger said. “We’re probably not going to be 18-5, but I feel like this year’s senior class has bred success for the future.”

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