FORTVILLE — Earlier this season, Greenfield-Central head coach Doug Laker called her a veteran. However, the “10” listed next to her name on the Cougars’ roster tells a different story.
Although just a sophomore, Greenfield-Central guard Kate Real is anything but a typical underclassmen. Starting on a team that finished 23-5 last season, including a regional championship loss to Roncalli, Real earned ample experience at the varsity level in her first year of high school.
Now, playing with two freshman guards and senior Katie Helgason, who missed the first chunk of the season with a knee injury, Real has been a consistent presence in the backcourt for the Cougars.
On Friday at Mt. Vernon, Real was a steady as ever. She caught fire in the first quarter, finishing 4 of 4 from the field for 10 points to help Greenfield-Central handle its conference and county rival 62-27.
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After starting the game a perfect 10-for-10, the Cougars led 27-9 after one quarter of play. Real finished the first half with 12 points but did not score in a lopsided second half.
“(Real) has played extremely well the last few weeks,” Laker said. “She is getting some good looks, and it doesn’t take her long to get her shot off. She would rather make a pass, but she’s such a good shooter we do have to beg her to shoot it sometimes.”
She passed Friday, too, especially to senior Madison Wise.
Wise, Greenfield-Central’s four-year veteran, was honored in the fourth quarter against the Marauders after scoring her 21st and final point of the game. Pushing her point total to 1,986 for her career, Wise is now Hancock County’s all-time leading scorer. She passed 2016 Mt. Vernon graduate Sydney Shelton, who is now playing at Butler.
“You don’t get these awards unless you have great teammates,” Laker said. “I am super proud of the kids for how they acted. There might be some jealousy or animosity (on other teams). If you do that, you aren’t a very good person.”
Helgason also scored 12 points to match Real in the first half on four 3-pointers. She finished with 17 in the game.
Mt. Vernon (6-14, 1-4 Hoosier Heritage Conference), which committed 15 turnovers in the first half, was led by junior Kaitlyn Nugent’s nine points. Freshman guard Emily Keeler contributed six points in the loss, while junior Sophie Williams added five points and six rebounds.
The Cougars (14-9, 4-2 HHC), who finished the first half 18 of 27 from the field, led 44-14 at halftime.
Prior to the clock officially starting in the opening period, Greenfield-Central and Mt. Vernon honored injured players Jessica Farrell, a junior, and Rachel Camargo, a senior. Each were allowed to make a basket, making the score 2-2.
“They deserved it,” Laker said. “We are rivals but in the end we show sportsmanship. Probably the bigger thing than them scoring was just being announced (in the starting lineup).”
From there, Greenfield-Central caught fire and missed just one shot in the frame.
In the second period, Wise added six points as Greenfield-Central outscored the home team 17-5. Keeler added four points in the quarter for the Marauders, who shot 5 of 16 in the first half.
The Cougars finished the game 23 of 40 from the field. Mt. Vernon was 10-for-36.
Greenfield-Central will play again on Tuesday at home against Yorktown in the team’s final conference game. With the win over Mt. Vernon, the Cougars are currently in third in the HHC behind Pendleton Heights and New Palestine.
Mt. Vernon hits the road for its final two games next week, including Tuesday at New Castle and on Thursday at Delta.