Senior staff writer
Center Grove and Roncalli extended their girls basketball legacies while capturing sectional championships Saturdays.
The Trojans survived a 90-85 overtime shootout against Greenwood, and the Rebels dominated Southport 78-44 at Decatur Central.
No. 5 Roncalli faces No. 3 Lawrence North in the Decatur Central Regional opener Saturday at 10 a.m., while unranked Center Grove has the daunting task of facing regional host and No. 1 Columbus North, also Saturday at 10 a.m.
The Trojans (12-12) and Greenwood locked together in the state’s best sectional title game Saturday.
Greenwood’s Jae Taft hit two free throws with 20 seconds left to knot the game at 77-77 and send it into overtime. With two starters fouled out, CG junior Val Clark came off the bench and hit a 3-pointer for a permanent lead at 84-83. The Trojans hit 6-of-8 free throws in the final 41 seconds.
Senior Lauren Rau, a Lipscomb University recruit, scored 20 points, including five in overtime. The senior guard returned to action in the sectional after undergoing an appendectomy two weeks ago. She went to the bench for four minutes in the first half after hard contact with a Greenwood player in the lane.
“I was a little sore but I wanted to play,” the gritty guard said. “I just wanted to do anything I could do for us to win. We had practiced and were really prepared to win. It was important that we were calm near the end.”
CG coach Shawn Sanders said, “She is our leader. You can’t keep her off the floor. She inspires her players, and she inspires her coaches too.”
Greenwood fell behind 27-17 at the end of the first quarter but recovered for a 38-38 halftime deadlock. The Woodman back court duo of seniors Taft and Holly Hoopingarner combined for 17 of Greenwood’s 21 points in the second quarter.
The Trojans held the biggest lead in the second half of six points, 55-49. The Woodmen snared their first lead in the fourth quarter – 68-67 – when freshman Alex Kincaid scored on a 4-point play, a deep 3-point shot and free throw.
“We’ve had our ups and downs,” Center Grove coach Shawn Sanders said. “We tried to prepare for every game situation possible. Every basket was important because Greenwood is relentless; they never give up.”
Madeline Bitterling and Cassidy Hardin each scored 18 points for the Trojans; Davis added 11 points.
Taft racked up a game-high 25 points for the Woodmen, with Kincaid adding 20 points, Hoopingarner 18 and Renfro 14.
First-year Greenwood coach Lee Taft guided Greenwood to a 15-10 record.
Roncalli claimed its 15th sectional championship after opening an 18-7 first-quarter lead against Southport.
Roncalli senior Lindsey Corsaro scored a game-high 20 points to become the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,822 points, surpassing Sarah Hurrle (1992-96) by one point. The University of Kentucky recruit has put up double figures in 85-of-93 games.
The Rebels were helped by Paige Saylor’s 14 points and Daesjah Ely’s 13. Roncalli led 63-28 after three quarters.
Southport finishes the season at an even 12-12.
The Rebels reached the championship game by pummeling Perry Meridian 78-38 Friday.
Center Grove and Roncalli were the Southside’s only teams to survive sectional competition.
Greenwood Christian Academy (15-10) reached the second round of the Morristown Sectional by defeating Lutheran but fell in the semis. Eliminated in first-round play were Beech Grove (13-11), Franklin Central (6-17), Lutheran (7-18), Manual (13-10), and Perry Meridian (6-16).
For more photos check out our sectional coverage.
Center Grove Roncalli