GREENFIELD — Greenfield-Central came up short in its bid to win the inaugural Lady Cougar Holiday tourney, but the host team felt like it came out ahead on the basketball learning curve.
A veteran Fishers squad defeated G-C 46-27 in the championship, outscoring the Cougars 28-7 from the middle of the third quarter.
Senior guard Alex Hochstedler, an All-Hoosier Crossroads Conference guard last season, led Class 4A Fishers (11-3) with 17 points, including 11 points over the pivotal final 12 minutes.
It was the second straight in-season tournament championship for the Tigers, who went 3-0 to capture the Rumble on the River in southern Indiana last week.
“It’s a seasoned team,” said G-C coach Doug Laker, whose squad countered with a pair of freshmen and a sophomore in its starting lineup. “Coach (Michael) Gaines does a great job and that’s why we wanted to get them on the schedule.
“If we want to compete at the big-school level, we’ve got to keep playing these kind of teams. Nothing to be ashamed about. We competed and we played hard.”
Gaines, Fishers’ eighth-year head coach (and a 1996 Greenfield-Central graduate) was forced to make adjustments to hold off the up-and-coming 4A Cougars (7-4).
Thanks to solid, physical defense on both sides, the early score didn’t reflect the quick nature of play. Greenfield-Central took a 16-14 lead into halftime and held a 20-18 advantage following a pair of Madison Wise free throws with four minutes, 21 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Wise, the Cougars’ freshman five-foot-11 all-around talent, got plenty of good looks at the basket into the third quarter as her teammates took care of the basketball.
That’s when Gaines switched things up.
“The biggest thing was we actually stopped pressuring them so much,” said Gaines, who battled G-C as the Shelbyville head coach prior to taking over at Fishers. “We normally experience some pretty good success with pressuring teams, but their guards handled our pressure extremely well.