On an exceedingly emotional night at McAnally Center Saturday, Greencastle saw its chances at capturing the West Central Conference title fade in the fourth quarter.
Monrovia exploded for 22 points in the quarter while the Tiger Cubs could only muster five, losing 70-50.
Greencastle trailed the Bulldogs throughout the contest and used a run in the third quarter to close the gap. With 39 second remaining, Justin Bartrum drove to the hoop, converted and was fouled. After connecting on the free throw, Greencastle had tied the game at 45. GHS looked poised to make its run, but with one second left a three from Bulldog Damon Speck gave Monrovia the lead for the final time. Greencastle lost all momentum at that point.
The final period belonged to the Bulldogs as they scored 22 points. Eli Hadley and Speck combined for 15 of Monrovia's 22 points.
When asked about the emotional impact of the game, Greenlee responded the he thought it wasn't too big of a factor in the loss. The team took in the defeat on Friday and quickly refocused its sights on Monrovia.
"I think our kids, they were disappointed about last night, but I thought tonight coming in we had a new outlook for us because we were playing for a conference championship. I think we were emotionally ready to play, I think everything was there; it was just a matter of executing on the floor. We just got to work and get better at that," he said.
GHS senior Brennan Burks managed to score 20 points even though the Bulldog defense focused its attack on the big man. Rarely did Burks touch the ball when a pack of Bulldog defenders descended upon him in the post.
"It's pretty obvious that teams are keying on Brennan, making things hard on him. We're just going to have some guys step up," Greenlee said.
"I told them after the game, I know they were up for the game, I know they were ready to play and I know they played hard; but I also said playing hard is a big part of what you do but in the game of basketball you have to make plays and we just weren't able to make enough plays," he observed.
At halftime, Greencastle's 1988 semi-state was honored while former coach Doug Miller spoke about the journey of the team. Miller acknowledged the love affair between the town and the team, while a statement from Brett Hecko voiced how much the love of the town meant to a bunch of 17 and 18-year old kids.
Greencastle (10-8) will close out the regular season on the road against North Montgomery (15-4) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Monrovia 14 23 11 22 -- 70
Greencastle 12 18 15 5 -- 50
Monrovia - Speck 19, Hadley 15, Connor 13, Smith 13, Sampson 6, Johnson 4. Totals: 22-44 FG 21-25 FT 70 TP.
Greencastle - Burks 20, Miller 15, Nobles 6, Bartrum 5, Faust 2, Huber 2. Totals: 18-49 FG 13-19 FT 50 TP.
3pt. FG -- Monrovia 5 (Speck 2, Connor 2, Smith), GHS -- Burks.
Next game -- Greencastle (10-8) will close out the regular season on the road against North Montgomery (15-4) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.