Greenland girls basketball coach Alan Barton had the best player in the gym sitting to his right Saturday night. And she wasn’t wearing a uniform.
But he also had Kim Crown and Allie Arnold. And they were in uniform.
The duo combined for 35 points to power No. 1 Greenland to a 62-45 win over Cedarville in the District 3A-1 West finals at Cedarville High School.
Cedarville (21-8) will play Paris on Thursday night at 7 p.m. in the first round of the 3A regional tournament.
Greenland (25-2) will play Atkins on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
"For us, there is phase 1, which is nonconference, and then there is phase II, which is the regular season, and then now," Barton said. "I know my team, and I know we’re battle-tested, and when you’re not playing your best player (Kiana Thompson), and you’re still winning by 17, I’m really proud of the effort."
Cedarville led early before Greenland turned some early turnovers into a five-point lead after one quarter. Bailie Murphy hit two foul shots with 2:20 left to put Cedarville ahead 8-7.
But Greenland outscored Cedarville 20-11 the rest of the way and led 27-18 at the break.
"We jumped up early, and things were going well, and then we got lazy on the boards," Cedarville coach Chase Rackley said. "I thought we were going to give them a better game than what we did; we didn’t play Lady Pirate basketball."
Greenland outrebounded Cedarville, 13-6, in the first half, and the Lady Pirates had seven offensive rebounds.
But it was the 15 first half turnovers that proved too much to overcome. Greenland converted the turnovers into 15 first half points (19 overall), and at one point converted three straight Cedarville turnovers into points — stretching a 17-13 lead to 23-13.
Greenland quickly extended its lead to 42-25 with 4:19 to play in the third quarter, and the visitors led 53-34 heading into the fourth.
To their credit, Cedarville didn’t exactly wilt, cutting the visitors’ lead to 54-40 on the strength of Shanda Brown’s 3-pointer early in the fourth.
"I’m very impressed with the three seniors (Cedarville’s Brown, Malia Hernandez and Grace Davidoff), they have brought this bunch to where they are now," Barton said. "Coach Rack has done a great job, there’s no dispute that the Lady Pirates of Cedarville are on the upswing. We knew that playing in this gym, and playing them in the finals, we knew what we had to do."
"As far as the season, I’m pleased," Rackley said. "But as far as tonight, I thought we were going to give them a better game. But we’re not done."