Center Grove boys basketball tops Greenwood in opener

Marcus Ankney was very much a known quantity for the Center Grove boys going into the season.

After Wednesday night, Joey Schmitz is looking like one too.

The junior wing hit five 3-pointers en route to a career-high 23 points, helping the Trojans pull away for a season-opening 66-49 home win over Greenwood.

Ankney added 20 points for Center Grove.

“We’re a much better offensive team this year,” Trojans coach Zach Hahn said. “We have five, six guys that are capable of going for 15 in a game. What we did on offense was pretty good once we started moving the ball.”

Both sides had some trouble finding their shooting touch in early going but eventually got untracked. Ethan McComb knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to give the Trojans an 11-5 advantage late in the opening quarter; Jake Mosemann responded with a deep ball of his own to get the Woodmen within 12-8 by period’s end.

The second quarter saw both teams heat up, and nobody more so than Schmitz. He scored 11 points in the period, and his squad needed all of them to maintain the upper hand through a barrage of Greenwood buckets. Jabar Elemikan knocked down a pair of 3s in the quarter that both got the visitors within two, the last time at 25-23 with 2:10 left in the half. McComb, though, finished off the half with a 3-pointer and a short bucket to give Center Grove a little bit of breathing room going into the break at 32-25.

Schmitz (14 points) and McComb (11) combined to match the Woodmen’s team total in the first half.

The Trojans continued to do enough to keep Greenwood at arm’s length through the third quarter. After a Mosemann 3 from the left wing to cut it to 34-32, the home team got a driving layup from Ankney and a trey from Schmitz to go back up by seven. Mosemann made it a three-point game with a pair of difficult layups in traffic, but Ankney answered with consecutive 3-pointers to give Center Grove a 45-36 cushion.

Then, Schmitz hit his fourth 3 of the evening and Ankney followed with a steal and layup to stretch the Trojans’ lead to 50-38 with 21 seconds left in the third.

“When you have the offensive ability that we have,” Hahn said, “it may not be in the first half that we have that spurt. It might be the third quarter. … MIC teams used to do that — they’d play back and forth, and then all of a sudden they’d hit you for 10 points in 1:30. I think we have a little bit of that this year.”

Mosemann scored on a baseline drive to open the fourth, getting Greenwood back within single digits at 50-42, but Schmitz canned another 3 and Ankney followed with a bank shot to effectively seal it. Center Grove continued to grow its lead, going ahead by as many as 20 in the closing moments.

The Woodmen were led by Mosemann, who matched Schmitz with 23 points. Elemikan and Carter Campbell each contributed eight in a losing effort.

Despite the defeat, Greenwood coach Joe Bradburn saw plenty of positives from his inexperienced crew.

“We played hard,” he said. “We just aren’t quite cerebral enough to cover some of that right now, but we’ll get to that point. Overall, I’m encouraged from the energy and the effort.”