NEW MARKET -- It's always difficult to gauge how well a basketball team will perform when its preparation is limited because of external circumstances.
This week's wintry blast didn't allow Troy Greenlee's Greencastle varsity boys' basketball club to get in much practice for its non-conference match up with Southmont Friday evening, but the lack of a structured tune-up didn't affect the Tiger Cubs in the least, as they came out firing on all cylinders en route to an easy 71-55 victory over the Mounties.
The game was all but decided in the opening quarter, as Greencastle raced to a 21-4 advantage in the first five minutes of the stanza, thanks to the hot-shooting hands of Zac Remsburg and Drew Evens, who combined to go 5-for-5 from beyond the arc. The first period ended with the Tiger Cubs in command 25-6.
Southmont's leading scorer Tyler Price, who missed all of his field goal attempts in the first quarter, finally got into a groove in the second, scoring 10 of his game-high 22 points as the Mounties narrowed the gap a bit and trailed at the intermission 36-21.
Price continued to chip away at the Greencastle lead as the third quarter commenced, as he commandeered Southmont into striking position, 39-27, with 6:00 remaining in the period. The Mounties could never get the deficit into single digits, however, and were forced to foul in an attempt to get possessions.
The physical play got a bit over the top on occasion, as the three-man officiating crew was content to allow gratuitous contact. Greencastle's Brennan Burks was the recipient of a push and a questionable non-call as he came down hard on his back after securing a rebound early in the final period. Burks, whose determined offensive play in the post kept the Mounties at bay in the second half, went to the bench at the 5:41 mark in the fourth quarter and did not return. Burks finished the contest with 15 points.
The remainder of the contest was a parade to the charity stripe for the Cubs, who connected on 11-of-18 from the line. The final margin was indicative of Southmont's woes from the field, as they went 18-for-49 and 0-for-8 from three-point range. Greencastle shot 25-for-61, including 9-of-22 from beyond the arc.
Remsburg led the Tiger Cubs with 19 points. Evens added 13.
Greenlee was pleased with his team's hot start.
"I thought coming out and hitting some shots early was key," Greenlee stated, "But I was disappointed with the way we handled the lead. I thought we were a little complacent and settled for just any shot. Hopefully, we'll learn a lesson from this."
Greencastle, which moved to 10-9 on the season, faces a difficult opponent next Friday as it hosts Class 2A's sixth-ranked North Montgomery Chargers.
At New Market
Greencastle 25 11 21 14 -- 72
Southmont 6 15 14 20 -- 55
Next Game -- The Tiger Cubs (10-9) face North Montgomery at home Friday.