GREENCASTLE -- The Greencastle Tiger Cubs snapped two streaks Saturday night at McAnally Center.
Led by Nick Hutcheson's 19 points, 11 rebounds and four steals, the Tiger Cubs ended their three-game losing streak with a 51-49 victory over the previously undefeated South Vermillion Wildcats. The Tiger Cubs' win ended the Wildcats' three-game winning streak.
"It was really good to get a win. Right now, with the things have been going we're happy to get one. We knew South Vermillion would be a tough team to play against, they've already beaten two sectional opponents so it was a really good win for us in a lot of ways going into the break," Greencastle coach Troy Greenlee said.
Greencastle led by 13 points and trailed by five en route to its second victory in six tries. The Tiger Cubs shot 47 percent (20-42) from the floor and held the Wildcats to 29 percent (17-58).
Everything about this game turned was decided by defensive adjustments.
A reverse layup by Hutcheson and two from Jordan Hickam put Greencastle ahead 26-21 at halftime. Then the Tiger Cubs opened the second half with an 8-0 run.
Hickam opened the scoring with a drive to the hoop, followed by Keith Carr's layup off a Tyler Lewis pass. Hutcheson got loose inside for two buckets, the second off another pass from Lewis, giving the Tiger Cubs a 34-21 lead with 5 minutes, 32 seconds left in the quarter.
On the verge of being blown out, South Vermillion called timeout, changed personnel and went into a half-court trap. The Wildcats held the Tiger Cubs scoreless for 5:04 and closed the period with a 7-3 run.
The Tiger Cubs' led 37-30 going into the fourth quarter only because Brad Haussin nailed a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left.
South Vermillion held Greencastle scoreless the first 4:03 of the fourth quarter. The Wildcats took a 40-37 lead with 4:09 left in the game. Hutcheson finally got the Tiger Cubs offense going again with a bucket at the 3:57 mark.
"(South Vermillion) did a good job in the half-court trap and I thought we had several unforced errors, too. We just have to do a better job when we have a lead taking care of the ball. Whether the defense is pressuring you or we're losing focus, whatever it is, we just have to do a better job. That's obviously an area we really need to get better at," Greenlee said.
When South Vermillion's lead reached 44-39 with 3:35 to play, Greenlee felt it was time for a change. He put the Tiger Cubs into a half-court trap.
"We felt like we had to do something because they would probably try to milk the clock away if we zoned them or picked them up (in man-to-man defense)," Greenlee said.
And with the 6-7 Hutcheson in the middle, it was extremely effective.
"(Hutcheson's) a good player. Hutcheson has a tremendous defensive presence. We just didn't handle it very well," South Vermillion coach Rodney Idlewine said.
The Tiger Cubs went on a 9-0 run, starting with two points from Spencer Moore. Hutcheson hit one of two free throws, then brought down the house with a steal and two-hand slam that tied the score 44-44 with 2:20 to play.
Moore put back a rebound to give Greencastle the lead for good. With 57 seconds left, Hutcheson made his fourth steal of the night that led to two free throws by Moore and a 48-44 lead with 41 seconds left.
After losing an overtime game and three other contests by five points or less, Greencastle was far from confident about victory even when Hutcheson hit two free throws for a 50-46 lead with 29 seconds to go.
With 8.5 seconds left, South Vermillion's Cody Mumaw hit a baseline 3-pointer that kissed the glass and dropped three. Greencastle led 50-49 and SV called timeout.
The Wildcats fouled Moore on the inbounds play and he closed the scoring with a free throw.
"Somebody hit a three (from) the corner that hit the backboard first and went in. I thought, 'This isn't going' to happen again, is it?' As soon as I saw that ball roll off on that last shot, I thought maybe we aren't as cursed as I thought we were," Greenlee said.
The Tiger Cubs are off until the Jan. 7 conference game at Speedway.
In JV action, South Vermillion nipped Greencastle 35-32. Ryan Battin and Hayden Stuckwisch led the Tiger Cubs with nine points each.
South Vermillion 9 12 9 19 -- 49
Greencastle 10 16 9 14 -- 51
South Vermillion (49) -- Walsh 5-11 2-3 12, Harpenau 4-11 5-6 13, Hastings 0-0 0-1 0, Laswell 3-11 0-0 8, Mumaw 3-10 4-5 12, Scott 0-0 0-0 0, Craigmyle 0-0 0-0 0, Reyher 2-5 0-2 4. Totals 17-58 FG, 11-15 FT, 49 TP.
Greencastle (51) -- Lewis 0-6 0-0 0, Carr 1-3 0-0 2, Hutcheson 8-15 3-4 19, Moore 3-3 3-5 9, Hickam 5-7 2-3 12, Embry 1-3 0-0 3, Hennette 0-1 0-0 0, Haussin 2-4 1-1 6. Totals 20-42 FG, 9-13 FT, 51 TP.
3 Pt. Goals: SV 4-12 (Mumaw 2-4, Laswell 2-6, Reyher 0-2), GHS 2-7 (Embry 1-2, Haussin 1-2, Hickam 0-1, Lewis 0-1, Hutcheson 0-1). Total fouls: SV 15, GHS 13. Turnovers: SV 11, GHS 17. Rebounds: SV 27 (Harpenau 10), GHS 30 (Hutcheson 11). Steals: SV 11 (Reyher, Mumaw 3), GHS 6 (Hutcheson 4). JV game: South Vermillion won 35-32. Blocks: GHS 5 (Lewis 3, Hickam, Hutcheson).
Next game -- Greencastle (2-4) travels to Speedway on Jan. 7.