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Woodmen pull away to down Whiteland

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County rivals Greenwood and Whiteland played relatively even for three quarters of Friday’s girls basketball match-up, but the visiting Woodmen dominated the second quarter enough to keep the drama to a minimum.

Greenwood, playing just its second game since Dec. 20, held the host Warriors without a field goal through the entire second period, as well as the first 4:46 of the third quarter. The Woodmen outscored Whiteland 32-4 during that stretch and parlayed that into a 55-37 Mid-State Conference victory.

“We talked before the game about working on our defense,” said Greenwood senior post player Sarah McLeod, who finished with 11 points and a game-high eight rebounds. “We didn’t practice a couple of days because of the snow, but we’re doing a lot better as we gain experience.”

The Woodmen (6-7 overall, 3-2 Mid-State) used a 1-2-2 zone defense to frustrate Whiteland (1-11, 0-4). The Warriors shot just 33.3 percent from the floor (12 of 36), and hit just 6 of 27 (22.2 percent) in the first three quarters.

Greenwood built a 43-13 lead with 2:54 remaining in the third quarter before Whiteland outscored the Woodmen 16-10 in the final period.

“We’ve got to put four quarters of basketball together,” Whiteland coach Kyle Shipp said. “We have those lulls where our effort and intensity isn’t as good. Greenwood broke us down off the dribble, and we broke down their zone a couple of times, but we couldn’t knock down shots and they stayed in it.”

Greenwood sophomore point guard Holly Hoopingarner wreaked havoc on both ends for the Woodmen, distributing the ball to post players McLeod and Brittany Gray (14 points) while also keeping pressure on Whiteland’s guards on the defensive end. Hoopingarner finished with a game-high 21 points, shooting 9 of 17 from the floor.

Greenwood hit 23 of 43 shots (53.5 percent), and almost all were layups or mid-range jumpers. The Woodmen attempted just two 3-pointers all game, hitting one.

“At the beginning of the season, we were trying to figure out our roles,” Hoopingarner said. “Now, our offense is starting to flow a lot better. We executed well (Friday), and some people who don’t play a lot executed for us as well.”

Greenwood coach Debbie Guckenberger agreed that the second quarter proved to be the difference in the game. The Woodmen outscored the Warriors 22-4 in that period, while the teams played to a 33-33 standstill in the other three quarters.

“Our zone did a lot better job of containing them, and we made sure we got out to their shooters,” Guckenberger said, explaining Greenwood’s second-quarter dominance. “We missed some easy shots early, but in the second quarter, we got a little more in tune offensively.”

Monica Wagner led Whiteland with 11 points, all in the second half. Sydney Mize added eight for the Warriors, with six coming in the second half, while teammate Tori Ison scored six off the bench.

Whiteland plays this afternoon at Center Grove in a 1:30 p.m. start. Greenwood returns to action Wednesday at Class 4A No. 10 Roncalli.

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