The Greencastle Tiger Cubs boys' basketball team hosted the Sullivan Golden Arrows Saturday night in what might be a Sectional match-up at the end of the season.
The Tiger Cubs entered the game with the momentum of winning a close West Central Conference game Friday over Cloverdale, and Sullivan had earned a victory over Union (Dugger) as well.
Fatigue from the previous night's games affected both teams, as shooting from the field was limited to 36 percent for Greencastle, and 34 percent for the Golden Arrows.
However, the Tiger Cubs hit 79 percent of their free throws, going 19-of-24 at the line, and that turned out to be the difference in the game, as Greencastle earned its fourth victory of the season, 54-47.
"It was really a good win, especially after coming off of a big win (Friday)," said Greencastle coach Troy Greenlee after the game. "I thought the first quarter was a little bit ugly because neither team was scoring a lot, but we were able to be in the position we were in because offensively, we really played well after that."
The game opened with both teams unable to gain much success offensively.
Sullivan scored the first four points of the game in the first two minutes of the first quarter.
Zach Smiley scored the first points of the game for the Tiger Cubs off an assist from Michael Richardson with 5:26 showing on the clock, and Brennan Burks hit a two-point shot and a free throw to add to his team's total.
Sullivan led at the start of the second quarter, 6-5, but that would be the final time the Golden Arrows would lead in the game.
Greencastle's offense got on track in the second quarter, as the Tiger Cubs outscored Sullivan 15-6 in the stanza.
Using a balanced offensive attack, Burks, Drew Evens, Ashton Marshall, Erick Burgeson and Richardson scored in the period, and the Tiger Cubs took a 20-6 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Greencastle continued to outscore Sullivan in the third quarter, 15-12, as Smiley, Burks, Richardson, Evens, and Austin Miller scored for the Tigers Cubs.
The Tiger Cubs led 35-24 going into the fourth quarter, but Sullivan was not ready to concede the win to the home team.
Greencastle led 42-33 with 3:52 left in the game after Richardson sank both ends of a one-and-one free throw opportunity, but Burks fouled out of the game one minute later, and the tempo of the game then changed.
"We knew both of their guards were excellent at penetrating with the basketball, and I thought we did a very good job of not letting them get comfortable doing that," Greenlee said. "That being said, in the second half, we just had to gut it out."
Sullivan then began fouling the Tiger Cubs, hoping that Greencastle would miss their opportunities at the line.
In the final 1:33 of the game, Faust, Miller, Richardson, and Burgeson combined to hit 10-of-12 free throws to seal the win for Greencastle.
Greencastle won the game by outshooting Sullivan from the free throw line, 79 to 60 percent, gathering nine steals versus three for the Golden Arrows, and passing the ball for 10 assists, compared to six for the visitors.
"Our free throw shooting down the stretch was a credit to our guys and their concentration. Obviously, if we don't hit our free throws, we don't win," Greenlee said. "My big thing is (wondering) how are kids going to respond, and I thought our kids responded very well tonight, and hopefully we can continue that."
Greencastle had three players who scored in double figures. Burks led the way with 16 points, and Richardson and Evens had 11 each.
Miller followed with six, Smiley had four, Burgeson added three, Faust chipped in two, and Marshall closed out the Tiger Cub scoring with one point.
Burks was the leading rebounder of the game with seven caroms, Smiley pulled down five boards while Burgeson and Evens had four each.
Richardson had a game-high three assists and four steals.
In the junior varsity game, Greencastle evened its record to 2-2 by convincingly defeating the Golden Arrows, 48-35.
Kyle Nobles led the Tiger Cubs in scoring with 17, Drew Stewart followed with nine, Justin Bartrum had six, Bo Walker added five, Ashton Marshall and Griffin Moore had four each, and Graham Shuee closed out the scoring with three points.
The Tiger Cubs (4-2, 0-1 WCC) travel to Rockville Friday night to play the Rox in the final game before the Christmas break. The junior varsity game will begin at 6 p.m.
Greencastle 5 15 15 19 -- 54
Sullivan 6 6 12 23 -- 47
Greencastle (4-2, 1-0 WCC)
Marshall 0-0 1-2 1, Burgeson 1-4 1-2 3, Faust 0-3 2-2 2, Richardson 2-5 7-8 11, Evans 5-9 1-2 11, Smiley 2-4 0-0 4, Burks 5-16 5-6 16, Miller 2-6 2-2 6. Totals 17-47 FG, 19-24 FT, 54 TP.
Sullivan (3-2, 0-1 WIC)
Drake 1-3 0-0 2, Demoss 7-20 3-5 18, Dudley 3-7 3-6 9, Arnett 0-1 0-0 0, Baker 3-10 0-0 7, Willis 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 1-3 2-2 4, Abrams 3-9 1-2 7. Totals 18-53 FG, 9-15 FT, 47 TP.
3-pt. FG - G 1-11 (Faust 0-3, Richardson 0-1, Evans 0-2, Burks 1-4, Miller 0-1), S 2-19 (Drake 0-2, Demoss 1-10, Dudley 0-1, Baker 1-4, Smith 0-2). Rebounds - G 24 (Burgeson 4, Faust 2, Richardson 1, Evans 4, Smiley 5, Burks 7, Miller 1), S 30 (Drake 5, Demoss 5, Dudley 7, Baker 5, Smith 3, Abrams 5). Blocks -- G 0, S 1 (Abrams 1). Assists -- G 10 (Faust 2, Richardson 3, Smiley 2, Burks 2, Miller 1), S 6 (Demoss 2, Baker 1, Smith 2, Abrams 1).
Steals -- G 9 (Faust 3, Richardson 4, Evans 1, Burks 1). S 3 (Demoss 3). Total fouls -- G 17, S 24. Fouled out -- Burks, Baker. Turnovers - G 12, S 10.
Junior Varsity -- Greencastle won, 48-35.
Next game -- The Tiger Cubs (4-2, 0-1 WCC) travel to Rockville Friday night to play the Rox in the final game before the Christmas break. The junior varsity game will begin at 6 p.m.