Greencastle wins last-second thriller

Monday, February 6, 2006

Greencastle junior Cal Gard isn't' a hero. He just played the role Saturday night.

With the game on the line, down by two points with only seconds remaining, Gard nailed a fade away three-pointer, giving the Tiger Cubs a 68-67 victory over Brown County.

Not a single person in the McAnally center -- not even Gard -- thought the shot was going in.

"I took off running towards the basket to get the rebound," Gard said. "It didn't feel good at all, but it went in. That's all that matters I guess."

As the ball went up, and the air was vacuumed out of the gymnasium, possibly the only words spoken were those of Greenlee.

'I said, 'one time, one time, please just one time, go in,'' he said. 'At first when he let it go, I didn't think it had a chance. I thought it was short. But the more it kept going, I thought, 'well maybe it does.' And it was nothing but net.'

The shot capped an impressive come from behind victory over the Eagles.

The Tiger Cubs faced a consistent deficit throughout the game, only holding a few leads, and never leading in the second half until Gard's shot.

Brown County held an eight point, 62-54, lead with only 3:19 remaining in the game. But the Tiger Cubs refused to give up, ending the game on a 14-5 run.

In particular, sophomore big-man Brennan Burks simply took over the game. Burks scored nine points in the next two minutes, nailing a three-pointer with one minute remaining, bringing the Tiger Cubs within one point at 64-63.

After Brown County's Scott Cheek hit one of two free throws, Zach Smiley connected with two free throws, tying the game at 65-all. The Eagles' David Tatham responded by taking a left handed layup through the lane, giving Brown County a two point lead with just 17 seconds remaining.

Greencastle set up an offensive play to win the game. However, when Brown County broke the play, Burks found Gard, who chucked up the desperation shot, falling away from the basket with two people in his face.

'We tried to set up where Cal and Michael (Richardson) were up top and maybe penetrate and maybe get a shot, or get to where Erick (Burgeson) can get a shot on the perimeter,' Greenlee said. 'It ended up that Brennan found Cal, and Cal made a great catch and a great shot.'

Gard ended with nine points in the game, while Burks scored 21 points, including 15 in the second half alone. Burks also had a game-high 12 rebounds, pounding the glass for offensive boards.

'He was great,' Greenlee said of Burks. 'He hit a huge three and got a lot of rebounds for us. He's playing so consistently for a sophomore, and that's hard to do. He's just getting better every time he steps on the floor.'

Junior point guard Michael Richardson scored seven points and dished out eight assists, leading the Greencastle offense to connect on 28 field goals in the game. Erick Burgeson scored 14 points in the game -- all of which were in the first half. Smiley added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Despite Gard hitting the shot, he wasn't about to take credit for the victory.

'It wouldn't have meant nothing if Smiley wouldn't have hit those free throws,' Gard said. 'And it wouldn't have meant nothing if Burgeson wouldn't have put up 14 in the first half. It's everybody.'

Cheek led Brown County with 21 points, while Tatham added 18 points.

The Tiger Cubs improve to 9-9 on the season, while the Eagles fall to 7-10. The Tiger Cubs were down 23-16 at halftime and 39-32 after the third quarter.

Brown County connected on 54 percent of its field goals in the game.

'Tonight was a game that was difficult because the X's and O's, you could kind of throw those out the window,' Greenlee said. 'You just had to make plays. Our guys were able to make enough plays to win the game. That's encouraging to me because some games are like that.'

Greencastle plays at Northview Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Riding high from the euphoria of hitting the game-winning shot, Gard had nothing but positive things to say about the status of his team after the game.

'Compared to the first half of the season, we've definitely grown a lot as a team,' Gard said. 'I think that's why we won tonight. This is the first weekend that we've put up two wins on Friday and Saturday back to back games. And that's good because to win a sectional, you've got to play back to back.'

At McAnally

Brown County 16 23 17 11 -- 67

Greencastle 16 16 17 19 -- 68

Brown County - Tatham 8-16 0-0 18, Schrimper 0-1 0-0 0, Miller 1-1 0-0 2, Cheek 6-14 6-7 21, Bright 1-1 0-0 2, Eubanks 3-5 0-0 7, Rubadue 3-5 0-0 6, Jacobs 2-2 0-0 4, Fox 3-5 1-6 7. Totals FG 27-50, FT 7-13, TP 67.

Greencastle -- Burgeson 5-9 0-0 14, Fenlon 0-2 1-4 1, Remsburg1-6 0-0 3, Faust 0-1 0-0 0, Richardson 3-6 0-0 7, Gard 4-11 0-0 9, Troyer 1-3 0-0 2, Smiley 4-5 3-3 11, Burks 10-16 0-0 21. Totals FG 28-59, FT 4-7, TP 68.

3 pt. - Brown County 6 (Cheek 3), Greencastle 8 (Burgeson 4), Rebounds - Brown County 20 (Fox 8), Greencastle 33 (Burks 12), Assists - Brown County 15 (Tatham 4), Greencastle 18 (Richardson 8), Steals - Brown County 10 (Tatham 3), Greencastle 8 (Burks 2, Remsburg 2, Richardson 2), Blocks - Brown County 1 (Tatham 1), Greencastle 2 (Burks 1, Remsburg 1).

JV - Greencastle won, 50-43.

Next game - Greencastle plays at Northview Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: