INDIANAPOLIS — Two of last year’s Indiana girls basketball state finalist teams met Friday, with both teams missing key components of their former standout squads.
As Mt. Vernon visited North Central, however, the Marauders’ list of players M.I.A. was more costly.
The defending 4A state champ Panthers, even without 2012 Indiana All-Stars Rachael Gregory and Nariah Taylor, controlled Mt. Vernon for a 51-37 win.
Mt. Vernon graduated Indiana All-Star Jessica Brown from last year’s 3A runner-ups, along with other key pieces. But, this year’s group, when healthy, includes Division I prospect Erica Moore, athletic guard Olivia Coleman and a third starter in senior forward Krista Shockley.
None of those players, plus reserve Morgan Stricker, were available Friday due to injury. Then, starting forward Maddie Walrod landed hard on her neck in the first quarter against the Panthers (12-7) and didn’t return.
All the Marauders had left, as far as being a danger to put the ball in the hoop, was Sydney Shelton. And the freshman guard did her best to keep the 3A No. 6 Marauders (16-4) in the contest.
Shelton knocked down four 3-pointers in the first six minutes to stake MV to a 14-11 lead. North Central coach DeeAnn Ramey made a defensive adjustment, however, and the tide turned.
The Marauders made one field goal over the final 10 minutes, 27 seconds of the first half and trailed 32-17 at the break.
“They took Sydney away, and we don’t have anyone else that can score,” MV coach Julie Shelton said.
“Pretty obvious, I think.
“They’re athletic and we didn’t have anybody else that was aggressive enough or think they could score. Once Sydney hit all those, they put (Celeste Edwards) on her and doubled anytime she was going anywhere, so somebody else is going to have to step up, and obviously that didn’t happen.”