GBB: 4A #6 Lawrence North takes MIC title in OT over Center Grove, 63-57
January 26, 2013By E. Shawn Aylsworth of Hoosier Authority
By Scott Hunt
National Sports Journalism Center Intern
INDIANAPOLIS – Winning a Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference championship – in any sport – is no easy task.
The girls basketball team from Class 4A sixth-ranked Lawrence North can attest to that.
The Wildcats outscored Center Grove 10-3 over the final 6:50 of regulation to tie the game, then used a 7-0 run in overtime to earn the team’s second-ever MIC championship with a 63-57 win over the visiting Trojans.
“I hope it means as much to them as it does to myself and the coaching staff,” said first-year LN coach Chris Giffin. “It’s only been done, until tonight, once in school history. We had five goals to start the season – goals they came up with; we’re 3 for 4 right now and our last one remaining is state.
“We’re going to have to shoot better in order to do that one. But they compete, they guard, and they rebound. We’ll make some shots … We’ll start making some shots.”
Lawrence North (17-3 overall, a flawless 7-0 in league play) used its high-pressure defense to force 25 turnovers while outrebounding Center Grove (13-5, 5-1) 48-36 and outscoring the Trojans 13-3 in second-chance points. Those advantages allowed the Wildcats to overcome a frigid 24-for-70 (34 percent) shooting performance on the night.
But LN made ‘em when it mattered most, going 4 of 5 – including a pair of huge 3-pointers – in OT.
Sophomore Lamina Cooper’s trey with just over two minutes remaining in the extra session put LN up for good at 57-55 and sparked the decisive 7-0 run. It was Cooper’s only field goal of the game on an off 1-for-11 night, but she did collect a game-high 14 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass.
Lawrence North was led in scoring by sophomore guard Jordan Hankins and senior Mikale Rogers, who each had 17 points.
Hankins was 4 of 8 from three-point range, her last coming with just over a minute to play to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 60-55.
Junior guard Ana Owens added 13 points for LN while dishing out 10 assists and making four steals.
Sophomore Bri Gleismann scored 11 points to lead a balanced Center Grove offense. Senior Lauren Weidman and sophomore Ali Line each had nine points, while junior Bobbie Clayton and sophomore Regan Wentland added eight apiece.
Center Grove shot better than Lawrence North (21 of 52 for 40 percent), but the Trojans’ turnover and rebound deficits translated into 18 less shot attempts than the Wildcats.
Despite the loss, fourth-year Center Grove coach Shawn Sanders was pleased with the way his young team performed in a tough environment.
“We know we can duke it out with some of the best teams in the state,” Sanders said. “I really like the kind of kids we have because I think we’ve got all the tools to do it.”
The Trojans went with a 3-2 zone most of the game and used their size to aide in Lawrence North’s tough shooting night.
Giffin said it was his team’s defense that was the key to Lawrence North’s comeback win.
“We had enough energy and tenacity down the stretch to stick with it defensively,” Giffin said. “We really continued to guard. We did a couple things better that we didn’t do quite so well in the first half.
“It started on the defensive end, but then we had some girls that made some big shots for us from the perimeter.
Giffin, who praised Center Grove’s team and effort in this classic MIC battle, knows if his team is going to reach that fifth goal of a state title, there is a chance his Wildcats could see the Trojans again in a few weeks.
“(Center Grove) is a really well-coached team, and they stay within themselves really well,” Griffin said. “They space you well, they drive it and pitch it, and they’ve got kids that can knock down shots. They’re physical underneath, and defensively they play a zone that you don’t see that much.
“That’s a really, really good basketball team, and I would not be surprised to see them make a run in the state tournament.”
The updated MIC standings, courtesy of John Harrell.net:
CONF. ALL OFF. DEF. MARG. STREAK
4A #6 Lawrence North 7-0 17-3 63.1 45.3 17.8 Won 8
Center Grove 5-1 14-5 55.9 46.6 9.3 Lost 1
North Central (Indianapolis) 5-2 10-7 52.9 47.8 5.1 Won 1
Carmel 3-3 10-8 57.7 56.4 1.3 Won 1
Terre Haute South 3-4 13-7 57.7 51.8 5.9 Won 1
Terre Haute North 2-5 13-7 50.9 39.2 11.8 Lost 1
Ben Davis 2-5 10-10 46.8 48.4 -1.6 Lost 3
Warren Central 0-7 0-18 36.7 49.2 -12.4 Lost 19