With the loss of four starters from a year ago, team chemistry and solid defense are going to be two critical ingredients for success for the Greenwood girls basketball team this season.
So far, so good.
The Woodmen in their home-opener turned away a much bigger and more physical Bloomington North team 54-38 Tuesday night.
Powered by the outside shooting of sophomore point guard Holly Hoopingarner and her game-high 22 points, the Woodmen led at every stop.
Hoopingarner got things started for the Woodmen with two of her 3-pointers in the opening quarter.
With the Cougars using their height advantage, their game plan was to go inside. But Greenwood countered with 6-foot seniors Sarah McLeod and Brittany Gray.
Also in the mix and contributing in a big way defensively was sophomore forward Megan Overton.
By game’s end, Bloomington North had turned the ball over 17 times. The Cougars were able to convert only 9 of 23 free-throw attempts.
Leading 13-10 at the end of the first quarter, Greenwood held Bloomington North to one field goal and one free throw for three points. Hoopingarner knocked down her third triple of the night, and Gray and McLeod did a decent job inside despite Bloomington North’s size.
McLeod finished with 10 points with one field goal and 8-of-10 accuracy at the line.
Gray, meanwhile, had eight points and 11 rebounds.
Coming out to start the third quarter, Hoopingarner again got things moving with a steal and a fast-break layup to give the Woodmen their biggest lead at 27-13.
The Cougars put together a brief rally spearheaded by 3-pointers from Alyssa Sampson and Hannah Densford. But it was the Greenwood defense that kept the Woodmen out in front at 41-25 as the third period came to an end.
“I thought our kids played really well together, and they played hard. We really matched their intensity in that second quarter and throughout the remainder of the game,” said 11th-year Greenwood coach Debbie Guckenberger.
“I thought we had a little bit of an edge athletically. We knew we were going to have to hustle and make free throws, which is one aspect of the game we did not do well on (24 of 40). We did a good job of getting to the free-throw line, even better than we did last year.”
Greenwood and Bloomington North each scored 13 points in the final quarter, helping the Woodmen maintain a 16-point advantage and eventual win.
Greenwood (1-0) plays at Beech Grove at 7:30 p.m. Saturday before turning its attention to next week’s Johnson County Tournament at Indian Creek.