GREENCASTLE -- Greencastle's only defense against Rockville center Beth Mahurin was its full-court pressure, which forced 25 turnovers and provided an opportunity to win Thursday night in a nonconference girls basketball game at the McAnally Center.
Mahurin, a physical 6-foot-2, was virtually unstoppable in the low post, scoring 34 points on 16-of-22 shooting from the field and 2-of-3 at the foul line. She also had 23 rebounds.
But despite Mahurin's dominant performance inside, the Tiger Cubs hung in there by trapping and stealing the ball before the Rox could work their half-court offense.
The Tiger Cubs (6-4) trailed 55-48 with 90 seconds to play. They shot eight free throws over the next 55 seconds and made four. With 31.6 seconds remaining, Greencastle trailed 55-52.
Rockville (8-4). put the game away by making all four of its free throws over the next 21 seconds. The Rox, which won their sixth straight, were 14-of-17 from the free throw line (81.3 percent). The Tiger Cubs were 9-of-18.
Greencastle committed only nine turnovers. Guards Kayla Nobles and Tennille Burgeson combined for 28 points and played aggressive defense out front.
Nobles scored 18 points on 7-of-14 field goals including 2-of-6 3-pointers and 2-of-4 free throws.
"Kayla Nobles did a great job tonight," Greencastle coach Bradley Key said. "It was great to see Kayla knocking down those shots. We've been waiting for that."
Burgeson added 10 points on 4-of-11 from the field and 2-of-5 at the free throw line.
"Tennille Burgeson did a much better job of looking for her shot," Key said. "Tennille is a player. She hustles, she's my captain I expect her to do that sort of thing."
Center Chelsea Samuels had a solid game with 13 points and seven rebounds for the Tiger Cubs, but junior guard Mallory Miller's offensive output was MIA. Miller took only three shots and her only field goal, a 3-pointer, came in the final seconds of the game.
"They (opponents) did a great job of shutting down Mallory Miller again," Key said. "Teams are doing a good job of that. I've got to do a better job as a coach figuring out how to get her the ball. She's our deep threat and we really aren't getting her the ball
"I think if we can get Kayla and Tennille to knock down their shots, it's going to be difficult for teams to just guard Mallory."
Key also was pleased with Kate Babington's contributions. She had six rebounds, four points and double teamed effectively on Greencastle's trapping defense.
:"I thought Kate Babington played another good, strong game," Key said. "Kate's working hard for me, I like that."
Mahurin posted up strongly on both sides of the key and showed the ability to pull in passes from all angles.
"Trying to stop her was a load," Key said. "We did try to front the ball so it was harder to get it into the post, we tried to get on the outside. We haven't faced anyone in half court where they were able to throw the ball up and have her catch it. She's good. She understands how to play basketball."
Mahurin rebounding led the Rox to a 38-26 advantage.
It also didn't help Greencastle to shoot only 35 percent, 21-of-60, from the field.
But in the end, the difference in the game was the Tiger Cubs' failure to shoot a higher percentage at the free throw line.
"We were 9-of-18 from the free throw line," Key said. We haven't played in a lot of close games. I thought aspects of our game got better. Playing in a close game like this is good for us. In the long run, it's going to help us out. We're going to need it come sectional, come tight conference games."
Gordon 1-3 0-1 2, Woodard 0-4, Mahurin 16-22 2-3 34, Greene 3-11 7-7 13, Carrington 1-2 1-2 4, White 1-1 0-0 2, Riffe 0-0 2-2 2, Donovan 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 22-43 14-17 59.
Samuels 4-11 4-9 13, Babington 2-5 0-0 5, Miller 1-3 0-0 3, Burgeson 4-11 2-5 10, Nobles 7-14 2-4 18, Nichols 2-11 0-0 4, Wainman 1-5 0-0 2, Pruitt 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 21-60 9-18 55.
3-point field goals: Rock 1-7 (Carrington 1-1, Greene 0-5, Woodard 0-1), Green 4-14 (Nobles 2-6, Babington 1-1, Miller 1-2, Burgeson 0-1, Wairman 0-1, Nichols 0-3). Rebounds: Rock 38 (Mahurin 23, Woodard 8), Green 26 (Samuels 7, Babington 6). Turnovers: Rock 25, Green 9. Fouls: Rock 14, Green 12. Fouled out: Carrington.
Next game: Greencastle (6-4) travels to Plainfield for a nonconference game Tuesday.