When Greencastle last met the Athenians of Crawfordsville, they left the court on the losing side of a 41-point game. If the No. 5 ranked Athenians thought Tuesday would be much of the same, they got quite a surprise. Greencastle challenged Crawfordsville throughout the game, but fell 64-55.
Greencastle (4-1) entered the fourth quarter down six and immediately cut that to three following buckets from Becky Grivas and Hannah Spencer and a free throw from Chelsea Samuels. Crawfordsville had three girls on the floor at 5-foot-10 and the size finally took its toll on GHS.
"Their size just got us in the end. Johnson and Gasaway took it at us and they knew where to go too," GHS head coach Glenn Hile said following the contest.
After Greencastle cut the lead to three, Crawfordsville was able to convert on its free throws and a dagger from downtown by Lexi Stevens put the game out of reach for the Tiger Cubs.
Greencastle dug themselves out of a significant deficit to put themselves in position to get the Athenians a run at the end of the game.
"I was proud of our kids," Hile said. "We got down 13 and we could have buckled, but we didn't and we kept on fighting. We just played a top 10 team in the state to really a four-or five-point ballgame. I'm really proud of our kids. It was a total team effort, everybody contributed somehow and I was proud of the way we overcame some adversity when we were down 13."
Beginning the rally that brought GHS to within three was a three-point play from senior Kelsey Wainman. Her bucket was followed by two free throws by Grivas and when Spencer's shot fell at the end of the quarter, the Greencastle bench came alive. It just turned out not to be the Tiger Cubs' night.
Greencastle came out from the opening tip and proved early that Crawfordsville was in for a battle.
The Tiger Cubs jumped out to a quick lead and stayed shot-for-shot with Crawfordsville, ending the quarter down three, 18-15. Mallory Miller had five points as Alspaugh and Spencer added four points to lead the GHS effort in the first quarter.
In the second quarter Greencastle continued to put pressure on Crawfordsville to hang with them. Miller continued her strong play, putting in another five to lead all scorers at the half with 10 points.
Miller finished the game with 20 points, while Spencer added 13.
Looking back on the game, Hile singled out one area of time that he believed to be the pivotal point of the game.
"I think probably the key to the ballgame was with three minutes to go in the first half. We got tired, we missed some shots, they got some to go down and they got that seven-point lead -- it was tied before then," Hile noted. "I really do believe that was the key to the ballgame.
"This is a ballclub that's blowing some people away. I told the girls before the game "This is a chance to see where we stand. How good are we?" Well I think we're not bad," he said.
Having begun the season 4-1 and taken a top 10-ranked opponent to the brink of defeat Hile thinks this season could be shaping up to be something very significant.
"I really think we have a special season ahead of us if we can maintain what we're doing. Our attitudes are great and the girls have worked really hard,' he said.
Under their belts is the county championship; something Hile was concerned could make the GHS team complacent. On Tuesday, his squad put those concerns to rest in a big way.
"I'm disappointed that we lost, but I'm not disappointed with the way we played," Hile commented. "The effort was outstanding. I was worried that there would be a letdown coming off the county tourney and was afraid they might be satisfied with that -- they weren't satisfied."
Greencastle will travel to Tri-West Tuesday for a 6 p.m. tipoff.
Crawfordsville 18 11 18 17 -- 64
Greencastle 15 7 19 14 -- 55
Crawfordsville -- Gasaway 20, Stevens 10, Justus 10, Johnson 10, Grundy 6 Conklin 4, Elliott 4. Totals: 22-42 FG 7-13 FT 64 TP.
Greencastle -- M. Miller 20, Spencer 13, Samuels 9, Grivas 6, Alspaugh 4, Wainman 3. Totals: 17-35 FG 15-21 FT 55 TP.
Next game -- Greencastle will travel to Tri-West Tuesday for a 6 p.m. tipoff.