The euphoria of Greenwood Christian Academy’s first-ever girls’ basketball regional victory lasted about 8 ½ hours Saturday. The Cougars pounced upon Farmersburg North Central, 80-62 in the 1A Southwestern regional opener that ended around 11:30 a.m., before falling to tall and talented No. 3-ranked University, 55-29 in the championship.
However, the defeat does not negate the history-making season that the Cougars with coach Alan Weems put together this season. They became the first team in program history to win a sectional championship, a regional game and go deeper into the IHSAA playoffs than any previous team. A big following of GCA students and fans nearly filled the south grandstand at Southwestern gave their beloved Cougars a standing ovation late in the title game.
“I love my basketball team,” coach Weems said. “This is a team that epitomizes the word ‘team.’ They do a good job of finding each other on the court. It’s about each other first; not about themselves.”
The future is bright for the senior-less Cougars who expect everyone back next year. “We have three double-figure scorers returning who can flat-out play on both ends of the floor,” Weems said. “They’re all back.”
Going deeper into the playoffs is the goal for juniors Alexis Mead, Cameron Northern and Morgan Haynes, sophomores Izzy Reed, Alexis Mead, Savannah Frye, and Sarah Kate Wells plus freshmen Ellie Bigelow, Chloe Grider, Kirsten Carlson, Dorothy O’Dell and Alayna Boyer.
“They (University) deserved this (win), they were the better team,” Weems said. “We’re hoping next year that we can say the same thing – we deserve the win and we earned it.”
GCA undoubtedly played one of its best games in the opener against North Central. After a slim 15-13 first-quarter lead, the Cougars exploded for 33 points in the second quarter, hitting 5 of 6 3-point shots and 13 of 16 field goal tries. Three Cougars reached double figures with Reed scoring 23 points, Mead 20, and Frye 13. Bigelow came off the bench and scored 9 points.
The nightcap resulted in a far different outcome. The turning point again was the second quarter, but only because the favored Trailblazers out-scored the Cougars, 15-2. Only Reed’s two free throws after time expired prevented a shutout.
GCA trailed at the half, 28-12. For more than 14 minutes, the Cougars did not score a field goal from 2:16 left in the first quarter to Frye’s short jumper with 3:48 to go in the third quarter. Meanwhile, University built a 43-15 lead. GCA did not hit a 3-point shot until Frye connected late in the third period. Reed scored a team-high 13 points.
Defensively, GCA could not cope with 6-1 junior Lindsey Syrek, who scored 28 points. “We have the opportunity next year to advance from this regional,” Weems said. “We won 17 games with a very young group against GCA girls finish historic season in 1A regional final the toughest schedule in school history.”
Trojans bow out
No. 8 Center Grove traveled to the Bedford North Lawrence regional where the host Stars upended the Trojans, 51-33 behind 6-1 senior Jorie Allen’s 21 points and 16 rebounds. The Trojans trailed only 25-24 before BNL went on a massive game-ending 26-8 run. CG’s 1-2 punch of seniors Emma Utterback and Ella Thompson combined for 20 points. CG finishes 22-4 and a three-year record of 57-20 with seniors Utterback, Thompson and Malory Storms.