Greenwood Christian entered the season with one mindset – reach the state finals.
Saturday night, Southwestern stood as the final obstacle to returning to the semistate round, and the Spartans just didn’t have enough firepower to slow down the Class A, No. 8-ranked Cougars.
Izzy Reed and Brooklyn Stubblefield combined to score 25 points and lead Greenwood Christian to a 49-42 victory over the Spartans in the regional championship game played at Southwestern.
Reed, who became the state’s career rebounding leader in her team’s semifinal win over Bloomfield Saturday afternoon and is already Johnson County’s girls basketball career scoring leader with over 2,000 points, spent the first half against Southwestern acting as a facilitator for her teammates.
That worked well as the Cougars built a 27-18 lead but head coach Alan Weems had to remind her she is too talented to not look for her own scoring options.
“We had to get on her a little bit because she wasn’t even facing (the basket),” said Weems, who improved to 131-92 in nine seasons at Greenwood Christian. “Now, she had some good passes to open teammates and you have to understand she is second in assists (on our team). “
Reed, who averages 24 points per game, had just two points at halftime Saturday night but had six rebounds and six assists.
“You have to pick your poison against them,” explained Southwestern head coach Garrett Krieg. “Reed is the best player we’ve seen all year and when she catches that ball at the high post, we had to swarm. And if she kicks, we had to get our backside there with a high hand – and they hit shots.”
The Cougars’ first three baskets were 3s off Reed assists. And with a baseline drive and score by Elizabeth Bigelow, the lead was quickly 13-5.
“(Reed) took what we gave her,” said Krieg. “She knew we were going to collapse on her. She is an unselfish player. She just found the open girl and she did every single time.”
Southwestern countered with back-to-back scores from Abby Muck and a Lily Kerber 3-pointer at the buzzer set Greenwood Christian’s lead at 15-12 at the first break.
Tyson Conrady photo
Southwestern senior guad Abby Muck (14) reverses direction in the first half while being defended by Greenwood Christian's Isabella Reed (12) at the Class A regional championship game at Southwestern High School.
The Spartans struggled with turnovers and missed opportunities in the second quarter and the Cougars extended their advantage to 27-18 by halftime.
Greenwood Christian’s lead grew to double digits in the second half and the Spartans failed to string defensive stops together to get any closer than seven points.
“That’s a good team,” said Krieg. “They can hurt you in so many different ways. We dug ourselves a hole and against a good team like that, it’s hard to climb out of it. We would make a little run and pressure a little bit but they take such good care of the basketball. I can’t fault the girls for not trying. They stepped up and got some deflections and some steals but the better team won today.”
Reed had five points in the third quarter and Savvanah Frye added her third trifecta of the game to extend the lead to 38-25 with two minutes left.
The Spartans battled back with a Muck score in the lane and a Lexi Wilkins 3-pointer from the top of the key that cut the lead to eight after three quarters.
Southwestern cut the lead to 42-35 on another Kerber 3-pointer and had it to 45-39 with 1:16 left but the Cougars spread the floor, ran time off the clock and made 9-of-13 free throws in the quarter to seal the win and a second straight semistate appearance.
Reed finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Stubblefield had 12 points, four rebounds and three steals. Frye added nine points, four rebounds and two blocked shots.
Southwestern’s four seniors combined for 26 points in their final game on their home floor. Kerber, a junior led the way with 13 points. Trinity Tatlock and Abby Muck each had eight points. Wilkins and Maggie Correll both had five points.
“Coming in, I knew the seniors were going to make us go,” said Krieg. “Everyone single one of them has an impact, not just on the court but in my life in general. All four of those girls are going to be missed a lot.”
After the regional, Reed has now scored 2,056 career points and grabbed a state record 1,337 rebounds. She is four points away from becoming Johnson County’s greatest scorer, eclipsing the 2,059 points tallied by Kyle Stidom, who also played at Greenwood Christian.
For Greenwood Christian to get to the state championship game, it will have to knock off Loogootee, the defending state champion, who dispatched of the Cougars, 57-40, in the 2020 semistate.
Greenwood Christian 49, Southwestern 42
GC: Reed 3-6 7-8 13, Stubblefield 3-11 4-6 12, Bigelow 3-4 1-1 8, O’Dell 2-3 0-0 4, Frye 3-7 0-1 9, Simon 1-1 0-0 3. Totals: 15-32 12-17 49.
SW: Ab. Muck 4-4 0-0 8, Kerber 5-8 0-0 13, Wilkins 2-9 0-0 5, Ma. Correll 2-5 0-0 5, Tatlock 2-10 4-6 8, Pile 0-0 0-0 0. Mc. Correll 0-1 0-0 0, Al. Muck 0-0 0-0 0. Stockdale 1-1 0-0 3. Totals: 16-38 4-6 42.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
GC (16-6) 15 12 11 11 – 49
SW (18-8) 12 6 12 12 – 42
Three-point field goals: GC 7-19 (Reed 0-2, Stubblefield 2-8, Bigelow 1-1, Frye 3-7, Simon 1-1), SW 6-18 (Kerber 3-5, Wilkins 1-5, Ma. Correll 1-3, Tatlock 0-4, Stockdale 1-1). Rebounds: GC 22 (Reed 10, Stubblefield 4, Bigelow 2, O’Dell 2, Frye 4), SW 14 (Ab. Muck 2, Kerber 5, Wilkins 5, Ma. Correll 1, Tatlock 1). Assists: GC 8 (Reed 7, Frye 1), SW 7 (Ab. Muck 2, Ma. Correll 1, Tatlock 3, Pile 1). Steals: GC 6 (Reed 1, Stubblefield 3, Bigelow 1, Frye 1), SW 2 (Ab. Muck 1, Tatlock 1). Blocks: GC 2 (Frye 2), SW 1 (Kerber 1). Total fouls: GC 6, SW 16. Fouled out: Ma. Correll (SW). Turnovers: GC 14, SW 11.