WEST TERRE HAUTE -- Throughout Saturday night's game at West Vigo, the lead never seemed out of reach for the Greencastle boys' basketball team.
Unfortunately for the Tiger Cubs (6-3, 2-0 WCC), they never quite grabbed the lead from the Vikings. In a game West Vigo controlled throughout, GHS fell 53-43.
"We never could get over the hump. We never could get in a rhythm of putting consecutive possessions together," Greencastle coach Troy Greenlee said. "You have to credit (West Vigo) for the way they played."
On their home court, it was obvious the Vikings were in control all night. Their full-court press forced 15 Greencastle turnovers, most of which the Tiger Cubs paid for with points the other way.
Additionally, when the Vikings had the ball outside of the transition game, they ran their offense deliberately, running time off the clock and waiting for a good shot. Slowing the game worked for the Vikings, as their 37 percent shooting was slightly worse than the Cubs' 38 percent on the evening.
"They limited the possessions of the game by, when they had it on offense in the half-court, they slowed it down. That makes every possession huge and when you make a mistake like throwing it away against a press or making a mistake on your end of the floor, that is the difference," Greenlee said. "We made mistakes and they took advantage of it.
"When you do those things, it's hard to get back," he continued.
Most of the evening, the West Vigo lead hovered around five to seven points. It was rarely much more or much less.
A Brennan Burks three with 4:11 to go in the second tied the game at 11, but West Vigo's Drew Aff put the Vikings in the lead 14-11 on the very next possession. The Cubs would trail the rest of the night.
At the half, West Vigo held a 23-19 lead.
For a game in which shots were not falling and in which they paid for every turnover, Greencastle did a remarkable job of never letting the Vikings run away with the game. Greenlee credited his squad's defense for this.
"Our kids kept fighting. They made some stops defensively. I thought for the most part we played pretty hard and got a lot of stops. We just couldn't convert it on the other end," he said.
"I thought we had opportunities to get over the hump, but we just couldn't do it," the coach continued.
In the second half, the Vikings quickly stretched the lead to nine, but Greencastle came back with a 7-0 run to make it a two-point game at 28-26. They would not be that close again.
GHS trailed by seven after three quarters, and faced the added challenge of having the Vikings in the bonus for the entire fourth quarter. They went 10-for-14 from the charity stripe in the final quarter.
The Tiger Cubs never reached the bonus.
Desperation fouls down the stretch accounted for the game's final margin of 10.
"Hopefully we'll learn from it. We have three more games coming up this week, so hopefully we can bounce back."
The Cubs' week begins at 8 p.m. Tuesday when they visit Owen Valley. On Friday they return to WCC action with a game against county rival South Putnam at 7:30 p.m. They close out the week hosting Edgewood at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
"We just have to show up and do the basic things well," Greenlee concluded.
At West Vigo
Greencastle 4 15 13 11 -- 43
West Vigo 6 17 16 14 -- 53
Greencastle -- Burks 9-19 1-2 21, Miller 5-11 0-0 10, Evens 3-9 4-4 10, Nobles 1-2 0-2 2, Bartrum 0-1 0-0 0, Marshall 0-2 0-0 Faust 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 18-47 FG, 5-8 FT, 43 points.
West Vigo -- Aff 6-10 7-10 20, Miller 2-3, 4-6 8, Wampler 3-12 2-2 8, Welch 2-2 2-2 6, Fagg 2-10 2-3 6, Pearson 2-8 0-0 5, Team 0-1 0-0 0. Team totals: 17-46 FG, 17-23 FT, 53 points.
3-pt FG -- GHS 2-13 (Burks 2-5), WV 2-13 (Aff 1-2, Pearson 1-5). Turnovers -- GHS 15, WV 9.
Next game -- Greencastle (6-3, 2-0 WCC) visits Owen Valley at 8 p.m. Tuesday.