Cougars vow to compete, despite departures




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GREENFIELD — When a coach proclaims, “I wouldn’t want to play us,” whilst referencing his team that is without its top two players from last season — two individuals that combined to score 50 percent of the team’s points, grab 39 percent of its rebounds and account for 38 percent of its assists — skepticism would be a natural reaction.

But that’s the narrative Greenfield-Central coach Doug Laker presents following the differing departures of LaRae Cruz (graduation) and Katie Peters (Indiana soccer preparation).

“We’re going to play fast. We’re going to get up and down the floor more,” said the fifth-year coach, his excitement palpable.

If the former Rushville player and coach is overly concerned, he’s not showing it.

“We’re going to be OK. We’re going to be better than OK,” Laker added, his tone turning more serious. “I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”

The statistics would seem to back any Cougar doubters.

Cruz led Hancock County in scoring in her last two seasons, and averaged 18.4 points per game in 2011-12. Moreover, the five-foot-six guard was the county’s most accomplished pickpocket last year; her 3.9 steals per game were tops in the area. Cruz was also G-C’s leader in free-throw (77 percent) and three-point shooting (36 percent) as well as notching nearly five rebounds and exactly two assists a night.

She finished fifth all-time at G-C in scoring (967 points) and assists (261) while winning 50 games as a four-year varsity player.

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