The Crothersville and Trinity Lutheran girls basketball teams started their summer playing on the same courts that they hope to finish in February — at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Wednesday, Crothersville and Trinity each played Richmond and Zionsville on the Indiana Pacers’ and Fever’s hardwood to kick off summer ball.
The Tigers and Cougars were both invited to play Wednesday by the Fever organization.
Both teams played Richmond and Zionsville on a running clock, with eight-minute quarters.
The teams also played with an NBA 3-point line in their games.
Cougars shake off rust
Trinity had a shaky start to the day, scoring under 10 points in a loss to Zionsville to start the day.Despite the slow start, the Cougars rebounded with a 31-29 win in the later game against Richmond.
“I saw a lot of rust,” Cougars coach Mike Lang said. “They’ve been involved in other sports. Some are playing AAU right now, but it’s just a matter of us getting back in the gym.”
Zionsville, a Class 4A powerhouse, made it all the way to the regional championship last season.
Against Richmond, the Cougars took a 9-4 advantage in the first quarter behind six points by incoming junior Maddie Roark.
Roark scored eight of her 17 total in the second quarter as the Cougars led 22-10 at the half.
Richmond nearly mounted a comeback in the fourth, going on a 9-0 run to close the game.
“I see some great things in the post by Abby Hackman and shooting from Maddie (Roark),” Lang said. “I liked how we defended in the first half against Zionsville and in the first three quarters against Richmond. Outside of having a fun day, I’m pleased with how we came out here.”
For incoming senior Whitney Rogers, it was the second time playing a summer game at Bankers Life.
“We were a little rusty, but it was good experience for us,” Rogers said. “I think that it gets us ready for the summer league. We just wanted to get back into rhythm. We wanted to work on our defense.
“We only lost two players last year, so we have a lot of girls coming back. I think that we should do pretty well this season.”
Trinity will return their starting lineup in the winter.
This summer, the Cougars will again play in a league, along with Crothersville, in Brownstown every Tuesday night.
“The next time we play here, we want to be playing for a state championship,” Lang said.
Tigers ahead of schedule
Opening with a 39-37 victory against Richmond, Crothersville coach Kevin Hensley was impressed with his team’s start.“They competed hard,” Hensley said. “They seemed to look more in sync than what I would have guessed for this time of year. We had seven varsity girls here today. They all did well, playing their roles to get that first win.”
The Red Devils and Tigers went back-and-forth most of the contest.
Tied at 37-37 with 24 seconds on the clock, incoming Crothersville senior Katrina Christian buried a pair of free throws for the win.
Christian and incoming sophomore Piper Hensley each had 12 points in the game.
“I think that we’re ahead of schedule,” Christian said. “I think playing much bigger schools will help us get ready for the season. It will only make us better. We’re going to be very busy — nonstop — in the summer playing in the gym.”
It was the first time that Christian, who has over 1,000 points in her career, has played at Bankers Life.
“I think it’s an amazing opportunity for us to play here,” Christian said. “If you can get to state, you play here. That’s a big accomplishment. We get to play on a court where a lot of good players have played.”
In their second game, the Tigers fell to Zionsville 46-24.
Hensley said he is encouraged with this team in part of their dedication thus far in the offseason.
“Most of the girls are pretty dedicated,” Hensley said. “They’ve been getting in the gym for open-gym. A lot of coaches have trouble getting their girls in the gym. They’re getting their shots up and working on their game.”
The Tigers will return all but one starter for the 2016-17 season.
On top of league play, the Tigers also will compete in a shootout at Crawford County later in the summer.