GREENFIELD — The girls basketball season might officially be over, but Greenfield-Central head coach Doug Laker isn’t ready to close the book just yet.

After a record-setting 23-5 season and capturing the program’s first sectional title since 2004, it’s been a tough transition into the offseason.

“I’m working on our end of the year program, and I usually have it done by now, but I really don’t want to because I don’t want to say goodbye to these seniors,” said Laker, who is 112-66 in eight seasons at Greenfield-Central. “They were a special group of kids and built this program to a new level.”

Their elite efforts in 2015-16 haven’t gone unnoticed by those outside the program, either.

Story continues below gallery

More than a month after the Class 4A Cougars’ final game in the regional championship, the accolades continue to trickle in, and on Monday they received a few more.

Earlier this month, Madison Wise, the 2015-16 Daily Reporter Player of the Year, and teammate Katie Helgason earned All-State recognition from the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association. They also were named to the Indiana Junior All-Star team roster.

This week, Laker picked up an honor of his own, being selected as one of six girls basketball coaches (12 coaches overall) to be chosen as a Bob King Coach of the Year by the IBCA.

“It’s quite an honor being voted by your peers. It always means something more when your fellow coaches in your district and throughout the state vote for you,” said Laker, who represents girls basketball in District 2. “It’s really nice.”

The award is the first in his career from the IBCA. He will receive a plague, commemorating the selection at the 2016 IBCA Clinic on April 22 and 23 at Lawrence North High School.

The program received more good news Monday along with Laker’s achievement, announced as one of the four girls teams to play in the 2016 City Securities Hall of Fame Classic in New Castle.

The prestigious event will be conducted for the 33rd time for girls on Dec. 29 inside New Castle Chysler Fieldhouse. 

The Cougars will face Plainfield in the four-team tournament opener at 11 a.m. and could face either North Harrison or Tippecanoe Valley in the consolation at 6 p.m. or the championship game to follow that same night.

“It’s a premier holiday tournament in the state, and I think of the 33 years they’ve had it, I believe 18 teams have went to the state finals. Hopefully, we’ll make it 19,” Laker said. “That’s our goal, to eventually win a state championship. We’re going to be busy next year. We play 25 games during the regular season. It’s a fun time.”

The Hall of Fame Classic will be just one of a few marquee games on the schedule for Greenfield-Central in 2016-17, which includes North Central and others. 

With a potential 2017 Indiana Miss Basketball candidate in Wise and Helgason an Indiana All-Star hopeful, the Cougars’ matchup against Plainfield will pit both against guard Kayla Casteel, an Evansville recruit.

Greenfield-Central will also face Gary West Side and five-star point guard prospect Dana Evans, a 2017 Miss Basketball consideration, next season.

Homestead’s Karissa McLaughlin, a four-star Florida commit, is another highlight game for the Cougars.

“Having two Indiana Junior All-Stars is special because that doesn’t happen very often,” Laker said. “I’m excited about the year already. Our program has come a long, long way.”

Mt. Vernon’s Noble takes sixth at indoor state

The high school track and field indoor season came to a close Saturday during the Hoosier State Relays at Purdue University’s Lambert Fieldhouse.

The Mt. Vernon Marauders and the Greenfield-Central Cougars competed in the Large School (4A-6A) state meet, and the Eastern Hancock Royals took part in the Small School (1A-3A) division.

Marauders senior Christian Noble had the county’s best finish, placing sixth overall in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9 minutes, 33.2 seconds.

The All-State distance runner’s three team points helped the Mt. Vernon men’s team tie for 36th out of 44 placing teams.

Homestead’s Brayden Law won the 3,200 in 9:08.44.

The Marauders were 23rd in the 4×800-meter relay as the quartet of Noble, Aaron Rush, Brandt True and Brisco Wood ran the race in 9:06.67.

Greenfield-Central’s Emily Jones was the county’s lone female representative at the Hoosier State Relays. The junior pole vaulter no heighted during the event. 

She set a school indoor record with a vault of 10 feet at the Whiteland HSR qualifier March 1.

Eastern Hancock senior Cole Cochard posted a time of 9.29 seconds in the 60-meter hurdle preliminaries but didn’t advance into the finals. Cochard qualified for the Hoosier State Relays with a time of 9.19 at the Patriot Invitational on March 12.

Reece Burkhart, a junior, placed 16th in the shot put competition for the Royals, recording a toss of 43 feet, 1.5 inches. His qualifying throw traveled 44-7.5 at the Patriot Invitational.

Teammate Aaron Riley, a junior, also earned an invite to the Hoosier State Relays but didn’t compete despite holding the ninth-best qualifying shot put distance in the state at 48-0.5. 

USA All-Stars prevail without Red

New Palestine senior Chad (C.J.) Red was expected to wrestle for the USA All-Stars at 132 pounds during the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic on Saturday.

However, the four-time and undefeated Indiana high school state champion was unable to compete inside the University of Pittsburgh’s Fitzgerald Fieldhouse after failing to make weight.

Despite being without the nation’s No. 1 ranked wrestler in his weight class, according to InterMat, the USA All-Stars defeated the Pennsylvania All-Stars 25-20.

Lowell’s Drew Hughes at 160 pounds earned the dual’s outstanding wrestler award, scoring a 6-0 decision to give the USA All-Stars the lead for good.

New Haven’s Owen Doster, who subbed for Red, lost to Greater Latrobe’s (Pennsylvania) Luke Pletcher by tech fall 23-8 in 4 minutes, 12 seconds.

Red, a Nebraska signee, and Pletcher would have faced each other for a fourth time in their careers.

Pletcher, who is ranked second in the nation by InterMat at 138 pounds, defeated Red at the 2014 FloNationals before losing twice in the next two rematches.

The Ohio State recruit lost to Red in the 2015 FloNationals and during Flowrestling’s third annual Who’s No. 1 event at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania last fall. Red won the match by decision 3-1 in overtime. Pletcher was ranked second at 132 pounds at the time.

At a glance

Pairings announced for 2016 City Securities Hall of Fame Classic

2016 Girls’ Schedule

at New Castle Fieldhouse

Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016

11 a.m. – Greenfield-Central vs. Plainfield

To follow – North Harrison vs. Tippecanoe Valley

6 p.m. – Consolation Game

To follow – Championship Game

2016 Boys’ Scedule

at New Castle Fieldhouse

Friday, December 30, 2016

11 a.m. – Logansport vs. Lawrence North

To follow – New Albany vs. Warsaw

6 p.m. – Consolation Game

To follow – Championship Game

Author photo
Rich Torres is sports editor at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at or 317-477-3227.