NEW CASTLE — After 91 career games played and 2,900-plus minutes of game clock spent, Greenfield-Central’s Madison Wise only needed 155 seconds more to rewrite history.
Wise knocked down a 3-pointer on her first shot attempt Saturday morning against Mason County (Ky.) during the 2017 Indiana-Kentucky Challenge Cup in New Castle to tie the Cougars’ all-time scoring leader Ellen Hamilton.
Her next bucket, from the free-throw line, with 5:25 left in the first quarter, cemented the senior’s place, alone, atop the list.
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Wise finished with a game-high 23 points, which pushed her career-point total to 1,905 — 20 points ahead of Hamilton, who set the bar at 1,885 in 2002.
Yet, at game’s end, the Iowa State signee, which has already surpassed 1,000 career rebounds, wasn’t in much of a celebratory mood.
Instead, the 6-foot-1 guard was fixated on a different set of numbers.
“We didn’t play too well today,” a subdued Wise said referring to Mason County’s 64-48 win over the Cougars. “We started out pretty well. We got up and slowed them down a little bit in the first quarter, but then our defense broke down. That killed us the whole game. I didn’t play too well.”
Similar to her approach on the court after scoring career point No. 1,887 — the second of two free throws to build upon the new mark — Wise nonchalantly turned the page. Her ambition, however, remained in full sprint.
“They were a pretty solid team all around,” she said. “But we play teams like this to get better and obviously, get ready for tournament time. That’s what we’re focused on. It makes us get better. We have to get better.”
While downplaying her individual accomplishments, few players have been as prolific as Wise, who is attempting to become the first Indiana All-Star from Greenfield-Central since John Hamilton in 2000 and Janet Meeker in 1989.
One of approximately 12 girls players in the state to reach the 1,000 career-rebounding plateau with 1,011 to date, Wise is tied with Avon’s Heather Farrell (1988-89) on Indiana’s all-time list, according to HickoryHusker.
Former Indian Creek star Ally Lehman (2010-13) is ahead of Wise at 1,076. Brebeuf Jesuit graduate and 2011 WNBA first-round pick Ta’Shia Phillips (2006-07) owns the state record at 1,308.
Wise, who is averaging 23.9 points per contest, is 80 points away from becoming Hancock County’s all-time career scoring leader in girls basketball. She is on pace to be the first-ever girls player in the county to reach the elusive 2,000-point milestone.
Last year, Princeton’s Jackie Young, who was named 2016 Indiana Miss Basketball, concluded her four-year run with 3,268 points and 1,090 rebounds. In 1993, Charlestown graduate and Indiana Miss Basketball winner Abby Conklin had 1,269 career rebounds and 2,616 points.
Wise could join the 2,000-point and 1,000-round club behind her 20.7 point and 11.0 rebound per game career averages.
“We knew she was good. We saw some reports on her and some game film. We knew she was very deserving of her recognition that she’s received,” Mason County head coach Brad Cox said. “To advance where we want to go back in Kentucky, we need to guard and play against players like her.”
The sixth-ranked Royals (14-2) tried and failed to contain Wise despite disrupting the Cougars (11-8) rhythm.
Wise shot 7 of 17 from the field, grabbed 11 rebounds, added a pair of blocks and assists while recording a steal.
Greenfield-Central led the Royals 8-0 and opened the game on a 13-3 run behind Wise’s seven points in the first quarter, but Mason County surged ahead in the second quarter with a decisive 13-2 momentum swing.
“We have a special group of seniors and upperclassmen that have been playing together for a very long time,” Cox said. “It’s kind of cerebral for them. They don’t care who gets the glory as long as we get the win.”
The Royals won the Island Division of the 2016 Carolina Invitational Holiday Tournament in Charleston, S.C. on Dec. 30, before traveling to their second showcase of the year.
They had three players score in double figures against the Cougars with senior Maddie Boone posting a team-high 16 points. Senior Brianna McNutt had 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Bellarmine University signee Whitney O’Mara finished with 14 points.
The trio appeared flustered initially through the first few minutes, prompting Cox to bench his starters as Greenfield-Central built its advantage.
Once reinserted, however, the starting five regrouped to hand the Cougars only their second loss in nine games and snap their three-game winning streak.
“I don’t think we came out with a lot of energy and they kind of punched us in the face early,” Cox said. “We talked about in our scouting report that who ever comes out with the most energy, especially with a morning game, might make the difference in the game. Fortunately, we were able to respond.”
Greenfield-Central shot 39 percent in the game compared to Mason County’s 52 and converted 10 fewer field goals (26 to 16) to face a double-digit deficit after trailing 33-30 at halftime.
“They were a really good team. You could tell we were a little soft and we looked tired. That’s on me. I just didn’t have us in top condition,” Greenfield-Central head coach Doug Laker said. “Today, we just got out toughed. As a coaching staff, that’s not a staple of our program.”
Senior Katie Helgason, a Ball State recruit, and sophomore Kate Real both had eight points for the Cougars, who were outscored 31-18 in the second half.
Greenfield-Central returns to the New Castle Fieldhouse this Friday in a Hoosier Heritage Conference matchup with the Trojans. The Cougars are fourth in the HHC at 2-2. New Castle is third at 3-2.
Scoring with Authority
Hancock County girls players with at least 1,000 career points. Total points listed, with player, school, year graduated.
1,985 — Sydney Shelton, Mt. Vernon (2016)
1,905 — Madison Wise, Greenfield-Central (2017)
1,885 — Ellen Hamilton, Greenfield-Central (2002)
1,617 — Beth Davis, Greenfield-Central (1988)
1,369 — Johna Goff, Mt. Vernon (2000)
1,276 — Jessica Brown, Mt. Vernon (2012)
1,228 — Barb Skinner, Mt. Vernon (1979)
1,217 — Liz Skinner, Mt. Vernon (1978)
1,194 — Jordan Lewis, Greenfield-Central (2008)
1,186 — April Kirby, Mt. Vernon (1998)
1,172 — Sarah Haynes, New Palestine (1994)
1,164 — Andrea Engleking, Eastern Hancock (2001)
1,116 — Alissa Kirby, Mt. Vernon (2001)