GREENFIELD — The word of the night was resilience. Greenwood girls basketball coach Bill Torgerson emphasized it, and both teams had it in an up-and-down game against host Greenfield-Central on Thursday night.
Despite building an early 13-point lead in the first half, Greenwood had to stand their ground in the closing minutes to fend off a charging new-look Cougars squad late to win its second straight 51-45.
“That is the exact word I used in the locker room,” Torgerson said after his team improved to 2-0 on the season. “We had some really big shots.”
The most crucial of Greenwood’s 19 field goals spun off the fingers of junior forward Alex Kincaid with 2:29 left in the game to put the Woodmen back in control 46-40. Prior to Kincaid’s 3-pointer, Greenfield-Central clawed within three points — the smallest margin since the first quarter.
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Another 3-pointer from junior Bailee Taft with 1:12 remaining provided enough of a cushion to spoil Greenfield-Central’s season opener under new head coach Joshua Means.
The Cougars (0-1) scored the first bucket of the night, a shot by senior forward Jessica Farrell in her return from a season-ending knee injury in 2016-17, and led 9-3 early.
However, an 19-0 run put Greenwood up for good as the Woodmen had three players finish in double figures. Taft scored a team-high 13 points, while Leah Moore chipped in 11 points. Kincaid, who poured in 34 points in Greenwood’s 77-67 season-opening win against Bloomington North on Halloween, had 10.
Greenfield-Central’s Hannah Farrell posted a game-high 18 points, shooting 6 of 15 from the field and 6 of 8 from the foul line.
Farrell capped the Cougars’ 7-1 run in the first quarter before the tide turned.
“We were up 9-3, and then the turnover bug bit us,” Means said. “Where we are health wise, it’s really hard for us to have five girls experience wise and health wise that can sprint back. So if we turn the ball over, we’re going to have a tough time.”
The Cougars racked up eight turnovers in the first quarter and 15 in the first half while Greenwood pulled ahead 22-9 early in the second half.
“You take that four minutes out, and we win the basketball game,” Means said. “We just have to avoid those little four minute spurts where we turn the ball over and give up layups.”
Greenwood came out firing and closed the first quarter, shooting 50 percent from the field, but ended the game at 39 percent as the Cougars began to chip away.
An 8-2 run to close the first half by Greenfield-Central cut the deficit to 24-17. In the third quarter, the Woodmen’s lead shrank to three points after a Jessica Farrell putback with 6:29 in the frame.
Greenwood responded, though, with an 8-0 run to build another 11-point lead.
“I feel like we keep finding crazy ways to win, which doesn’t make you super confident,” Torgerson said. “I’m just the kind of person that always sees all that we have to work on all the time. But I’m also trying to appreciate the fact that we made plays to win and maybe we’ll keep doing that.
“In the opener, we blew three 10-point leads.”
The Cougars were within two possessions four times down the stretch, taking advantage of 15 foul shots, converting 11 overall. The team shot 41 percent from the floor in the game and a 3-pointer by Kate Real, who like Jessica Farrell, is coming back from a knee injury, brought them closer 48-45 with 1:41 left.
“They just made everything. They made big shots,” Means said. “We’re going to keep getting better
“We told them, our focus is conference games and sectional. We want to win every game, absolutely, but I’m glad we have a few games before our first conference game. We’ll get there.”
Greenwood 51, Greenfield-Central 45
GREENFIELD-CENTRAL (0-1): H. Farrell 6 6-8 18, C. Peterson 1 0-0 3, K. Real 1 0-0 3, B. Wheeler 2 4-5 8, J. Farrell 3 0-0 6, G. Rosemeyer 1 0-0 2, L. McIntire 2 1-2 5. Totals 16 11-15 45.
GREENWOOD (2-0): A. Buster 2 0-0 5, B. Taft 5 0-0 13, A. Kincaid 4 1-2 10, L. Moore 3 4-5 11, M. Smith 1 0-0 2, G. Jackson 1 0-0 2, S. Frye 1 0-0 2, K. Whobrey 2 0-0 6. Totals 19 5-7 51.
Rebounds: GC 27 (B. Wheeler 7, J. Farrell 6, L. McIntire 4), GW 30 (A. Kincaid 7, B. Taft 5, L. Moore 5, S. Frye 4).
3-Pointers: GC 2 (C. Peterson, K. Real), GW 8 (A. Buster, B. Taft 3, A. Kincaid, L. Moore, K. Whobrey 2).