GREENFIELD — If there were any Madison Wise doubters in the gymnasium on Saturday at Greenfield-Central, they left in silence.
A candidate for Miss Basketball, Wise put the Cougars on her back in the team’s home opener against Whiteland. Struggling to gain traction in a sloppy first half, Wise and No. 6 Greenfield-Central stormed back from a 30-21 halftime deficit to top the visiting Warriors, 60-51.
Wise, who finished with just two field goals (eight points) in the first half, erupted for 34 in the second to end the game with a school-record 42 points. Greenfield-Central outscored Whiteland 21-9 in the fourth quarter to earn the come-from-behind win.
It was just that type of opening week for the Cougars, too. Before the dominant performance from Wise, sophomore guard Kate Real, who Greenfield-Central head coach Doug Laker calls a veteran, drained seven 3-pointers at Greenwood on Thursday to tie the program mark.
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Real hit 24 threes all of last season. Through two games this season, she is averaging 13 points per game after scoring just 3.4 per contest a season ago.
Wise, who finished 13 of 26 from the field on Saturday, is netting 31.5 ppg and 8.5 rebounds per game. Against Whiteland, she scored from just about every spot on the court. She missed just one shot in the fourth-quarter rally.
“I had no idea,” Wise said of breaking the school record on Saturday. “I would have guessed I maybe had 20.
“Everyone had to do their role and move the ball a little bit better (in the second half). We were shooting a lot of outside shots and one-pass shots early.”
Whiteland junior center Mackenzie Blazek, who stands 6-foot-2, was the dominant force in the first half, finishing with 15 points. She ended the game with 25 points and helped the Warriors take control in the first half with several nice post moves over several Cougar defenders.
According to Laker, she also is receiving college interest.
Blazek’s teammate, senior guard Sidney Crowe, added 14 points — seven on which came at the free throw line.
For Greenfield-Central, no other player scored more than five points, as freshman Hannah Farrell hit a three and added a two-point field goal to pace the team. She also added four rebounds and a team-high three assists. Junior starter Brittany Wheeler added six rebounds in the win.
Farrell’s older sister, junior forward Jessica Farrell, went out in the first quarter with a knee injury. She averaged 6.0 rpg last season as a starter for the Cougars.
“She personifies everything we do in our program,” Laker said of Jessica after the game.
Trailing 42-39 entering the final quarter of play, Wise gave Greenfield-Central its first lead since the second quarter, 47-46, with 3:40 left on the clock. From there, the Cougars completed a 13-5 run to seal the win. Most of those points came from Wise beating her defender off the dribble with a drive to the hole.
“I am just so proud of our kids,” Laker said. “We went through some adversity there early. It’s a learning experience and we need to let them (young players) play a little bit. They have done a great job. I really love going to practice with these kids.
“Whiteland is one of the favorites down in their sectional.”
Laker and Greenfield-Central, which moved up a spot to No. 7 in the Indiana Basketball Association Coaches poll, travel to No. 6 North Central on Saturday in a tough early-season test. The Panthers are 1-0 after beating Franklin Central 66-32 in their season opener.
Greenfield-Central finished Saturday’s game an efficient 5-for-12 from behind the arc and 17 of 23 from the charity stripe. The Cougars shot 13 of 25 from two-point range.
Wise missed just one free throw (13 of 14) and was 3-for-6 from deep.
Whiteland 51, Greenfield-Central 60
G-C – Madison Wise 42 points, eight rebounds, Hannah Farrell five points, four rebounds
WL – Mackenzie Blazek 25 points, 10 rebounds, Sidney Crowe 14 points