SPENCER -- After fighting back to gain a halftime advantage, the Greencastle boys' basketball team had no answer for an offensive outburst from Owen Valley in the second half of Tuesday's contest. The Tiger Cubs fell to the Patriots 58-51.
For GHS coach Troy Greenlee, the Tiger Cubs' (6-4, 2-0 WCC) problem was one of defensive intensity and effort.
"I thought Owen Valley was way too comfortable running their offense, going where they wanted to go and penetrating. (There was) no help on cutters and screeners."
In the first half, the lead changed a number of times. The Cubs built an 8-5 lead in the first quarter before the Patriots came back to lead 9-8.
Owen Valley led 14-10 after the first when Cody Vest banked home a three-pointer as time expired.
In the second, though, the Cubs had a charge in them. After trailing 21-16, closed the quarter on a 10-1 run to gain a 26-22 halftime lead.
At the intermission, Brennan Burks led GHS with 14 points. Unfortunately, the senior managed just five in the second half, to lead the Tiger Cubs with 19 in the game.
In the third quarter, it was Gobert who got things going for the Patriots, scoring their first six points. Stahl got into the act next, going 4-of-4 for 10 points in the quarter. The duo combined for all 18 of Owen Valley's points in the frame.
For the Cubs, Austin Miller was 3-of-3 for six points in the third, but got little help from teammates.
The real issue, though, was the defense. In the second half, the Patriots got buckets whenever they needed them. It is actually a problem the coach has seen in the Cubs' consecutive losses to Owen Valley and West Vigo.
"I just told the guys, in the game on Saturday (against West Vigo) and even before that, we haven't had the edge that we've had in the past," Greenlee said. "In the early games I thought we really came out with an edge to us that we were going to play hard and we were going to try and take away things defensively."
In the fourth, the Cubs had one run in them, but the Patriots ultimately put the game away.
With under two minutes to play, Ashton Marshall took a steal back for a layup, drew the foul and made the free throw, to bring the Cubs within two.
The Cubs soon had to start their desparation fouls. Owen Valley made the free throws they needed to hold on to the win.
"It's like we just want to play, play, play and at the end try to make a comeback," Greenlee said. "You can't get yourself down six or eight points to a team like this and expect to do that. They're going to hit their free throws and make shots at the end."
One big hope for the Cubs is that they face a Putnam County and WCC opponent on Friday in South Putnam. Greenlee said his team tends to do well in these rivalry games, but he'd like to see more.
Ultimately, the coach finds hope in the fact that losses can be learning opportunities.
"Hopefully these guys learn from these last two losses that you can't just show up win. You have to make things happen. I didn't think at the defensive end we did that tonight," he concluded.
Greencastle travels to South Putnam at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
At Owen Valley
Greencastle 10 16 11 14 -- 51
Owen Valley 14 8 18 18 -- 58
Greencastle -- Burks 9-19 1-2 19, Evens 5-10 3-4 13, Miller 4-7 0-0 8, Marshall 2-3 1-1 5, Bartrum 1-1 0-2 3, Huber 1-2 0-0 2, Faust 0-6 1-2 1, Nobles 0-3 0-0 0, Harlan 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 22-25 FG, 6-11 FT, 51 points.
Owen Valley -- Stahl 8-16 5-6 23, Gobert 7-10 0-1 14, Vest 3-8 3-5 11, Lientz 1-9 2-2 4, Gilstrap 1-2 1-1 3, Collier 1-3 0-0 2, Campbell 0-0 1=4 1. Totals: 21-48 FG, 12-19 FT, 58 points.
3-pt. FG -- GHS 1-9 (Bartrum 1-1), OV 4-16 (Vest 2-4, Stahl 2-8). Turnovers -- GHS 14, OV 11.
Next game -- Greencastle (6-4, 2-0 WCC) visits South Putnam at 7:30 p.m. Friday.