GREENFIELD — Class 4A No. 10 Greenfield-Central inched one step closer to its first outright Hoosier Heritage Conference title Friday night with a win over county and conference rival Mt. Vernon.
Behind junior Madison Wise’s 24 points and 10 rebounds, the Cougars extended their current win streak to five games with a 75-40 victory against the Marauders. The win also snaps a three-game losing streak to Mt. Vernon dating back to 2014.
Greenfield-Central now has the opportunity to close out the HHC championship on Tuesday at Yorktown (6-11). The team clinched a share of the title during the 2013-14 season.
“They took us out of the game from the start,” Marauders’ head coach Steve Doud said, referring to the Cougars’ 24-2 first quarter burst. “We couldn’t handle the pressure. They were running on all cylinders. They are a really good team. If we play them in the sectional, we are going to have to play really well.”
Junior guard Katie Helgason added 13 points and seven steals for Greenfield-Central (17-4, 6-0 HHC), many of which came in the first half in the team’s full-court press. The Cougars forced Mt. Vernon (14-7, 2-3 HHC) into 16 first-half turnovers and scored 17 points in the second quarter to take a 41-11 halftime advantage.
“That’s the way we play at times (press),” Cougars’ head coach Doug Laker said. “We are versatile. There are many things we can do differently with this group. The rotations on the defensive end have been very good.
“We just want to keep building on it. The games are a lot of fun when you work hard in practice.”
Wise had 16 points by the break as Greenfield-Central shot 15 of 18 from the free throw line in the first half and finished 22-for-27 for the game.
The Marauders shot just 3 of 20 in the opening half but played much sharper in the second, shooting 7-for-20 from the field while outscoring the Cougars 22-14 in the fourth quarter.
However, 20-7 third-quarter run by Greenfield-Central, mixed with the dismal first half, was too much to overcome.
Senior Megan Gawrys led Mt. Vernon with nine points while classmate Ariana Sandefur, who played in just her second game back from an injury sustained earlier this season, finished with eight points and four rebounds.
Sophomores Sophie Williams, Mary Fleming and Kaitlin Dunlavy all recorded five points in the loss.
Williams led the team with five boards while senior Madeline Gibson scored 10 points off the bench for Greenfield-Central.
Mt. Vernon senior guard and leading scorer Sydney Shelton (24.1 points per game) is still out due to a lower leg injury as the Marauders look to get back to .500 in conference play Tuesday at home against New Castle. Senior Sadie Baugh, another starter, did not play, as well.