LINDEN -- Greencastle's boys basketball team nearly did something only two other teams have Saturday at North Montgomery.
The Tiger Cubs led the Chargers 69-63 with 4:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Chargers, however, closed the game on an 11-2 run to come away with a 74-71 victory in the season finale for both teams. With the win, the Chargers finished 9-2 in home games, with their lone losses coming to Lafayette Central Catholic and Danville.
North (16-4) closed its regular season on an eight-game winning streak. Saturday's win was the closest margin of victory during that stretch. Greencastle (10-9) finished its season on a four-game losing streak, but assistant coach Bryan Gerard said the setback didn't come because of a lack of effort.
"For 32 minutes we played with all our heart and all our desire," said Gerard, who was sitting in for a sick head coach Troy Greenlee. "We just had that one negative run there in the second quarter."
The Tiger Cubs were playing with second-leading scorer senior Austin Miller, who was sick. Gerard said Miller should be able to return for Greencastle's opening-round sectional game Wednesday at Edgewood.
Greencastle defenders had a tough time stopping North's forward tandem of senior A.J. Sutherlin and junior D.J. Byrd, who combined for 62 points. Sutherlin scored 32 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the floor. Byrd had 30 points on 10-of-19 shooting. Byrd added a team-high 10 rebounds.
Gerard said, however, neither Byrd or Sutherlin hit the biggest shot of the game. That came from junior Kyle Kingma, who hit a jumper that brought the Chargers within 69-67. Junior Justin Bartrum hit a field goal that put the Tiger Cubs back up four points, but North ended the game on a 7-0 run.
One of Byrd's three 3-pointers on the night tied the score at 71. Byrd then provided a rebound basket to put the Chargers ahead 73-71 with 42 seconds remaining. A Kyle Calder steal gave the ball back to North, and Byrd hit 1-of-2 free throws to put the home team ahead 74-71.
Greencastle junior Kyle Harlan's 3-pointer to tie the game just rimmed out, giving North the victory.
"Byrd and Sutherlin both did a good job, but Kingma made the shot that killed us," Gerard said.
The Tiger Cubs combated North's two big scorers with strong shooting from the outside. The Tiger Cubs went 11-for-23 from long range. Brennan Burks went 4-for-6 from long range en route to a 22-point effort. Junior Ashton Marshall also had four 3-pointers to lead him to a 19-point effort.
Senior Kendall Faust joined Burks and Marshall in double figures with 10 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
The Tiger Cubs shot 28-for-57 in the loss.
"They shot the ball well," North coach Scott Radeker said. "That was the best we have seen them shoot as a team."
The Tiger Cubs got hot in the third quarter, outscoring North 26-13 to erase a 45-33 halftime deficit and take a 59-58 lead into the final quarter.
Greencastle hit six 3-pointers in the quarter. Five of the Tiger Cubs' first six field goals were all 3-pointers. Burks hit a trifecta with four minutes remaining to tie the game at 50 with four minutes remaining. North extended its lead out to 58-54, but Ashton Marshall's 3-pointer followed by Burks' basket with one second remaining gave Greencastle a 59-58 lead headed into the final quarter.
"Our goal was to overcome that one negative run and make it a possession game so we would be back in the game with eight minutes remaining," Gerard said.
Gerard said Saturday's game provided a great test headed into sectionals where the Tiger Cubs will face Class 3A No. 2-ranked Edgewood. Greencastle fell to Edgewood 73-58 during the regular season.
"They are two similar teams," Gerard said of Edgewood and North. "They both have two players that are very good."
At North Montgomery
Greencastle 22 11 26 12 -- 71
North Montgomery 25 20 13 18 -- 74
Greencastle -- Burks 10-19 0-0 22, Nobles 1-3 2-2 4, Bartrum 4-7 0-0 9, Marshall 7-14 1-2 19, Faust 4-8 0-0 10, Huber 1-4 0-0 2, Walker 1-2 0-0 2, Harlan 0-0 0-0 0. Team Totals -- 28-57 FG, 4-5 FT, 71 TP.
North Montgomery -- Sutherlin 10-19 8-10 32, Byrd 10-19 7-10 30, Galloway 0-4 0-0 0, Calder 1-9 1-2 3, Airey 2-3 0-0 4, Pierce 0-4 3-4 3, Kingma 1-2 0-0 2. Team Totals -- 24-60 FG, 19-25 FT, 74 TP.
3-point shooting -- Greencastle 11-23 (Bartrum 1-4, Marshall 4-9, Faust 2-3, Huber 0-1, Burks 4-6), North Montgomery 7-24 (Galloway 0-2, Calder 0-4, Pierce 0-2, Sutherlin 4-6, Byrd 3-10). Rebounds -- Greencastle 33 (Faust 10, Marshall 7, Burks 9), North Montgomery 30 (Byrd 10, Sutherlin 9, Calder 4, Pierce 4). Fouls -- Greencastle 17, North Montgomery 10. Fouled out -- none. Turnovers -- Greencastle 20, North Montgomery 11.
North Montgomery 49, Greencastle 35
North Montgomery -- Airey 19, Galloway 7, Krutzsch 7, Thomas 6, Maltsberger 6, Lee 4
Greencastle -- Shuee 9, Tarabar 8, Lewis 9, Hickam 5, Moore 4.