GREENCASTLE --Greencastle boys' basketball head coach Troy Greenlee knew South Putnam wanted to play a methodical, ball-control style of game Friday night. But he and his team had different plans, hoping to establish an up-tempo, breakneck offensive pace.
In the battle of opposing styles at South Putnam, the Tiger Cubs won out for the second time this season, topping the Eagles 61-51. Greencastle established a double-digit lead early in the first quarter with a full court press that forced eight South Putnam turnovers, and they didn't look back from there.
"Tonight I think you saw two contrasting styles," Greenlee said. "They wanted a game in the thirties or forties, and we wanted a game at sixty-plus. So it was key for us to come out right away with some pressure and get some deflections and some easy transition buckets."
South Putnam head coach Micah Elliott said his group knew Greencastle would apply pressure but still struggled with it early.
"They came out, were very aggressive defensively, and they took control early," South Putnam head coach Micah Elliott said. "We found ourselves down 14-4 in the first quarter, and we ended up losing by 10. That start was the difference."
Senior guard Jordan Hickam started the game hot, scoring Greencastle's first 10 points. Then freshman guard Hayden Stuckwisch offered the next scoring surge, sinking three three-pointers in the first half.
"Jordan was ready to go all night," Greenlee said. "They were really keying defensively on (center) Nick (Hutcheson)and that opened things up on the perimeter for our guys. We've been waiting for Hayden to do that, to really break out. He's got a lot of poise, and he's just a good player."
But the most consistent offensive effort of the night for Greencastle came from junior forward Tyler Lewis, who finished with a team-high 17 points. Hickam followed with 14, then Stuckwisch with nine. Lewis's effort was a workmanlike one.
"Tyler, in some ways, is such a key for our team," Greenlee said. "If he's able to play well, with this type of pace and energy, he can do a lot for us. And in the games he's played well, we've played well as a team."
While Greencastle relied on a balanced offensive attack, South Putnam leaned heavily on the spectacular play of guard Cameron Chestnut, who finished with a game-high 31. His play had fans on both sides in awe and earned the praise of both head coaches Friday night.
"He did a very nice job," Elliott said. "People always talk about Cameron being a great athlete, but tonight he showed he's a complete basketball player. Of course, he understands that it doesn't mean anything unless you get the win."