GREENWOOD — The Greenfield-Central Cougars put their talent on display Thursday night in their season opener against host Greenwood.
The Cougars (1-0), ranked ninth in the IBCA preseason poll, used stifling man-to-man defense and strong offensive output from Madison Wise and Kate Real to dismantle the Woodmen 59-25.
Wise, a 6-foot-1 senior forward with multiple NCAA Division I offers, muscled her way to 21 points and also grabbed seven rebounds. Real, meanwhile, hit seven 3-pointers, tying the school record, en route to a game-high 23 points. The pair accounted for 44 of the Cougars’ 59 points.
“Madison is a great player and an unbelievable person,” Greenfield coach Doug Laker said. “She has good basketball skills. We played hard and shared the ball, and played great team ball. It was ugly at times, but it is the first game.”
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Real had a shot at a record-breaking eighth trey at the end of the game, but her attempt from the top of the key was long and Greenwood grabbed the rebound just before the final buzzer sounded.
The Cougars’ in-your-face man-to-man defense harassed the Woodmen (0-2) into 25 turnovers, including 16 in the second half.
“Even though we have four seniors in our lineup, we’re very young and really, really inexperienced,” Greenwood coach Lee Taft said. “We’re still finding out what each teammate likes to do. We’re learning what transition defense is and competing for a full possession.”
The Woodmen shot just 23.7 percent (9 of 38) from the floor, thanks in large part to the Cougars’ defense limiting good looks at the basket. Taylor Walker led the Woodmen with 10 points, while Leah Moore added six points and six rebounds. Ryan Bauer added a team-high eight boards.
Greenfield-Central had no double-figure scorers other than Wise and Real, but Jessica Farrell grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds while Hannah Farrell pulled down eight.
“This team is fun to coach, and the girls are doing what the program wants them to do,” Laker said. “Our effort was there all game.”
The Cougars will face another Johnson County foe Saturday when they host Whiteland.