GREENFIELD — Even coming in with wins in eight of the last 10 games, Greenfield-Central girls basketball coach Bradley Key was eager to see some significant improvement out of his team in Tuesday’s game against Muncie Central at Dellen Automotive Gymnasium.

Key said the team hadn’t been playing its best ball lately. They squeaked out a road Hoosier Heritage Conference game Friday at winless New Castle and lost at home Saturday to Franklin Central, giving up a 28-point first quarter.

He wanted to see a better defensive performance.

He got what he was looking for.

The Cougars scored the game’s first 12 points, held the Bearcats scoreless for over one-half of the opening quarter, and to just two points in the second, in a 56-32 win.

“We needed a good game like that defensively. I thought first half we played really well defensively,” Key said. “We really struggled Saturday and Friday night on defensive rotations and doing little things. (Tuesday) we played really well in the first half, defensively, moving and talking, doing the little things. I was real happy to see that.”

Brooklyn McConnell and Chaney Brown opened the game with 3-pointers. Brown added a 2 on an in-bounds play. Aryana Hibbard scored off a steal and Jalyn Smith added a bucket in transition to give G-C a 12-0 lead with 4:50 left in the opening period.

The Bearcats first bucket didn’t come until the 3:12 mark of the quarter. Gianalis Caraballo scored on an offensive rebound.

G-C extended its lead in each period, leading by eight at the opening stop (16-8), by 17 (27-10) at halftime and by 18 (43-25) heading into the final period.

The third quarter was the lone period where Key wasn’t particular pleased on the defensive end. Muncie Central leading scorer Gabby Douglass, averaging 13.5 points per game, had 10 points in the quarter, but those were her only points of the game.

The Cougars had a balanced attack. At halftime, six of seven that played had scored and all were between three and six points. Katie Holmes and Brown led G-C with 14 apiece. Hibbard and Kammi Anderson, who came off the bench, scored nine. Smith finished with six.

Holmes’ total was a career high. She came in averaging 4.3 points per game. Previously, she had three 10-point games.

“The scoring was really even. Katie Holmes coming in with 14 was great for us,” Key said. “She’s really worked on her 15-footers. Kammi Anderson had a great game, as well. Happy for both of those two. They’re role players that continue to work hard and get better for it.”

Douglass led the Bearcats with 10. Taj Isom and Katherine White each had seven.

Greenfield-Central improved to 12-8 overall. Muncie Central dropped to 5-13.

The loss was Muncie Central’s ninth in its last 10 games. The two teams could meet again soon. Both are part of Class 4A Sectional 9. The tournament draw is Sunday with games beginning in two weeks. Due to flood damage on the Pendleton Heights High School court, the sectional tournament has been moved to Mt. Vernon.

The Cougars travel to Mt. Vernon for a key HHC game Friday. The Marauders are the only unbeaten team in conference play. They are 4-0 with three league games left. G-C is 4-1 with Mt. Vernon and Yorktown left on the schedule. Along with Greenfield-Central, Mt. Vernon still has to play New Castle and Delta. Pendleton Heights has completed HHC play at 6-1. The Arabians gave the Cougars their only conference loss.

“We’ve got a big game Friday,” Key said. “(Mt. Vernon) has a really great team and one of the best coaches (Julie Shelton) in the state. We have to make sure we’re mentally prepared to give them our best shot. If you knock them off, now all of a sudden you’re playing for a conference championship against Yorktown. I’m glad we’ve gotten ourselves to this spot. This game means something (Friday). Playing games that mean something in late January is always kind of cool.”

Greenfield-Central 56, Muncie Central 32

Muncie Central;8;2;15;7;—;32


Muncie Central (5-13): Victoria Hardnett 1 0-0 2, Katherine White 2 1-2 7, Sadie Hanna 0 2-2 2, Taj Isom 3 1-1 7, Gabby Douglass 3 3-3 10, Alajia Douglass 0 0-0 0, Zaniah Barnes 0 0-0 0, Gianalis Caraballo 2 0-0 4, Laniya Thomas 0 0-0 0, Jayden Embry 0 0-0 0, Akira Jones 0 0-0 0, Raye’Anna Boykin 0 0-0 0;. Totals: 11 7-8 32.

Greenfield-Central (12-8): Chaney Brown 6 0-0 14, Ariyana Hibbard 3 2-2 9, Katie Holmes 6 2-3 14, Brooklyn McConnell 1 0-0 3, Jalyn Smith 3 0-0 6, Taylor Smith 0 0-0 0, Kammi Anderson 4 1-1 9, Emma Nelson 0 0-0 0, Madi Moss 0 1-2 1, Juliann Jones 0 0-0 0, Addi Herrin 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 6-8 56.

3-point goals: Muncie Central 3 (White 2, G. Douglass); Greenfield-Central 4 (Brown 2, Hibbard, McConnell).