Cougars fall to Mooresville in opening round of Lebanon Holiday Classic

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Greenfield-Central’s Izzy Silcox drops a pass off on a fast break against Greenwood earlier in the season. On Wednesday, she led the Cougars with 13 points.

Mike Brown | For the Daily Reporter

LEBANON — The beginning was great. The ending was good. The middle, not so much.

For the Greenfield-Central girls basketball team, putting together a complete four-quarters of basketball has been the thorn in their side against good competition.

On Wednesday, in the opening round of the Lebanon Holiday Classic, that issue reared its head once again in a 50-37 loss to Mooresville.

“That’s the million dollar question,” Greenfield-Central head coach Bradley Key said about trying to put together a complete game. “I think that we are on the cusp of being able to play with teams like this. That’s a really good basketball team. They play a really good schedule and they were 12-2.”

“I thought all five of their girls played hard, and I thought our girls played hard most of the time. Against a team like that, you can’t just play hard most of the time. It has to be all four quarters. It’s a good lesson to learn. We’ve got to go home, get some sleep, turn around tomorrow, play some good basketball and hopefully win two games.”

It was Mooresville jumping out to an early lead in the first quarter, but the Cougars played their best eight minutes of the night to take a 12-10 lead into the second quarter.

A 3-pointer by G-C’s Izzy Silcox made things 8-7 in favor of the Pioneers before a pair of Chaney Brown free throws gave the Cougars their first lead of the night.

After a basket by Mooresville’s Randee Garringer flipped the lead back to the Pioneers’ side, Brooklyn McConnell connected from deep in the closing minute to put the Cougars back ahead 12-10.

The lead grew to 15-10 after a Silcox trey to start the second period, but that’s as big as the G-C lead would get.

Over the next seven minutes of play, Mooresville reeled off a 20-0 run.

“We were up 15-10 at one point, but then you have some silly turnovers and some non-blockouts, and all of a sudden it’s 30-15. You say it to kids all the time that every possession matters, and that’s why you’re saying it,” Key said. “We got away with some not-great possessions our last several games, but that’s because they weren’t the quality of Mooresville. If we want to compete for the conference or a 4A sectional, we have to be able to play with the quality teams.”

The Cougars kryptonite all night long — Mooresville forward Rachel Harshman — kicked off the 20-0 run with a 3-pointer of her own before an Ava Shafer basket and free throw put the Pioneers back in front for good, 16-15.

Harshman scored 10 of the next 11 points to put Mooresville ahead 27-15, and by the end of the quarter, the lead grew to 30-17.

Fourteen of Harshman’s game-high 24 points came in the second quarter. She pulled down two offensive rebounds in the quarter and finished with five offensive boards on the night.

“Rebounding-wise, they’ve got size. When you play a team that has size like that you can’t give them second chances and we were giving them second or third chances. That’s never a good recipe,” Key said. “Our guards up top didn’t do a great job of staying with their blockouts. Mooresville has five girls who are going to crash and crash hard. If we want to win big games we have to play every possession. We’ve just got to learn from it.”

A Garringer three-point play early in the fourth gave Mooresville their biggest lead of the game, 43-24, but the Cougars showed some of that fight that they had in the first quarter the remainder of the way.

“We definitely saw good things. We can score at times, and I thought our defense in the first quarter was remarkable, but it has to be like that for four quarters to beat a team like Mooresville,” Key said. “Their coach has been there forever and they win all the time. We’d love to be a program that can get to that level.”

A Chaney Brown fast break layup, McConnell layup, and Silcox’s third 3-pointer of the game brought the Cougars back within 14 late in the game. Over the final eight minutes, G-C outscored Mooresville 13-9.

“I was pleased with the fight in the fourth quarter. We could have just given up, and we didn’t,” Key said. “Credit to us for showing some fight and pulling it closer because it could’ve been a 25-point game if we let it.”

Silcox led the Cougars with 13 points, Brown added 11, Madison Sonsini had eight, and McConnell had five.

The Cougars play in today’s semifinal at 9 a.m. against Lowell.

Mooresville 50, Greenfield-Central 37

Greenfield-Central;12;5;7;13;—;37

Mooresville;10;20;11;9;—;50

Greenfield-Central (10-4): Chaney Brown 3 4-6 11, Madison Sonsini 2 3-6 8, Brooklyn McConnell 2 0-0 5, Izzy Silcox 5 0-0 13, Jalyn Smith 0 0-0 0, Addi Herrin 0 0-0, Kynsey Hasty 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 7-12 37.

Mooresville (13-2): Rachel Harshman 10 2-4 24, Kalyn Bunch 1 0-0 2, Ava Shafer 1 1-1 3, Lyla Jacobs 1 2-2 4, Randee Garringer 3 1-1 7, Emma McGinley 1 1-2 3, Sydney Hardy 3 0-0 6, Addi VanWanzeele 0 1-2 1. Totals: 20 8-12 50.

3-point goals: Greenfield-Central 6 (Silcox 3, McConnell 1, Brown 1, Sonsini 1); Mooresville 2 (Harshman 2).