GREENFIELD — Every team knows the importance of playing its best basketball come March. Fortunately for Greenfield-Central, the Cougars are doing just that.
Thanks to an offensive outburst in the fourth quarter, Class 4A No. 10 Greenfield-Central topped Avon 66-43 on Thursday night to finish its season winners of seven-straight contests. The win also sends Greenfield-Central’s seniors home on a high note, as Thursday was also senior night at the high school.
The Cougars’ six veterans scored 30 points against the Orioles, accounting for nearly half of the team’s points.
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“This is the best team we’ve probably ever had and last year the seniors brought us all together,” senior guard Madeline Gibson said. “So this year we just carried it over. It meant a lot getting this win.”
Junior forward Madison Wise scored a team-high 19 points in the victory, while senior guard Savannah Girolami finished with 11 for the Cougars.
A 7-of-9 effort from the field in the opening quarter helped Greenfield-Central (19-4) overcome eight early turnovers as both teams were deadlocked at 10-all with just more than a minute to play.
However, a 7-0 run, fueled by Gibson and fellow seniors Amanda Flora and Paige Conley, who each scored a basket, allowed the Cougars to take a 17-10 lead after one quarter.
Greenfield-Central, which has only lost twice since Dec. 5, kept the defensive pressure alive and used eight points from Wise to take a 32-21 advantage into the break.
As a team, the Cougars shot 12-for-20 in the first half but committed 12 turnovers to keep Avon within striking distance.
The Orioles matched the Cougars in the third quarter (12-12), but Greenfield-Central scored the first eight points of the fourth to seize momentum and the win. In fact, the team outscored Avon 22-10 in the final quarter.
“Over the last few games, we’ve started slow but then we build up,” Gibson said.
“I think the halftime talk really got us going.”
The 19 wins for Greenfield-Central, which has won 14 of its past 15 games, are the most this century for the program.
For the game, the Cougars shot 62 percent from the field while the Orioles finished at 38 percent.
Avon (4-18) was led in scoring by junior center Ariahna Rodgers with 14 points.
Greenfield-Central now prepares for postseason play as a rematch with No. 19 New Castle is scheduled for Feb. 2 at the Mt. Vernon Sectional. The Cougars beat the Trojans 50-39 on Jan. 15 at home.
“They are going to come out and give it their all just like we will,” Gibson said of New Castle.
“It will be a good game, both teams are really good. They have scouted us a lot.”
In the junior varsity game Thursday, Greenfield-Central lost 42-35.