INDIANAPOLIS — Playing on one of the state’s biggest stages against a top-10 team did not scare Greenfield-Central.
Even after managing just five points in a dismal first quarter, the Cougars stuck to the plan. And thanks to solid contributions across the board — and a momentum-swinging second quarter — Class 4A No. 20 Greenfield- Central topped No. 10 Westfield 48-40 in the Really Big Basketball Show Saturday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Trailing 9-5 after one quarter of play, the Cougars continued to attack the Shamrock defense in transition on the longer, extended floor the NBA’s Indiana Pacers call home. Led by five points from junior forward Madison Wise (team-high 17 points) and a big 3-pointer from junior guard Katie Helgason, Greenfield-Central doubled up Westfield in the second stanza (16-8) and put the pedal to the floor the rest of the game en route to another signature win.
The victory also gave the Cougars a little payback. Playing for the second time in 10 days, Greenfield-Central avenged a 42-34 home loss on Dec. 30 to Westfield, which snapped the Cougars longest win streak of the season (seven games).
“We changed a couple things in our offensive sets (from the last game against Westfield),” head coach Doug Laker said after the win. “A big thanks goes to our coaching staff. I think we did a great job of team defense. I think the bigger court helped us; we are a little bit faster. We can spread the floor a little more.
“It was a neat atmosphere and the kids enjoyed it.”
Helgason finished at her average with 10 points and sparked the second quarter run that eventually won the game.
Her aforementioned three, which seemed rather unimportant at the time, brought Greenfield-Central (13-4) within one, 9-8, and told the Shamrocks (17-2) that this game would be a battle. The Cougars, with the slow start behind them, came to fight.
The quick score was also much needed, as the team hit just two field goals in the rocky first quarter.
From there, Wise scored two buckets — one being an and-1 — and role players Jessica Farrell (sophomore) and Amanda Flora (senior) joined the scoring to send Greenfield-Central into halftime with a 21-17 lead.
Farrell finished with four points and seven rebounds in her cleanup role while Flora added five points off the bench in a complete team effort, according to Laker.
After half, Greenfield-Central edged Westfield, which was visibly frustrated in the second half, 11-10 in the third quarter due in large to a 4-for-8 shooting performance and another Helgason 3-pointer at a key time.
Wise and senior guard Savannah Girolami added four points apiece in the final quarter, which Greenfield-Central won 16-13, to close out the win. Girolami finished with 8 points.
After a 6 of 17 shooting effort in the first half, the Cougars adjusted to the big background and improved to 9-for-17 in the second half. As a team, Greenfield-Central finished 13-for-22 from the free throw line and 3 of 5 from behind the arc.
Wise was honored at halftime for her success in the classroom (4.1 GPA) and led the team with eight rebounds, as well.
“She’s just the complete package,” Laker said. “I’m so proud of these kids; they do things the right way.”
Senior forward Maddy Grennes was the only player for the Shamrocks to reach double figures and finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Westfield was just 5-for-9 at the charity stripe and 15 of 51 overall for the game. The team’s leading scorer, senior Allison Van Dyke (14 ppg), finished with six points.
However, like many times before this season, the next game doesn’t get any easier for Greenfield-Central. The Cougars host No. 9 Plainfield (18-1) today at 7:30 p.m. with just five games left in the regular season.
“We can’t just prepare for one team. We have to prepare for multiple opponents and the kids have done a good job of buying in,” Laker said. “We are preparing for our second half run.”
Westfield 40, Greenfield-Central 48
WESTFIELD — Van Dyke 2 1-2 6, Grennes 7 4-7 19, Drudge 0 0-0 0, Reeder 3 0-0 8, Reinoehl 2 0-0 4, Clary 0 0-0 0, Foland 0 0-0 0, Kreig 0-0 3. Totals: 15 5-9 40.
GREENFIELD-CENTRAL — Wise 7 3-5 17, Helgason 2 4-6 10, Real 1 1-2 4, Girolami 3 2-2 8, Farrell 1 2-4 4, Flora 2 1-2 5. Totals: 15 13-22 48.