SULLIVAN -- It's not often a team gets a second chance to beat a non-conference team.
Back on Dec. 5, Greencastle struggled against an experienced Edgewood team that beat the Tiger Cubs 59-42. On Friday, the two teams met again at Sullivan High School in the sectionals.
It was completely different, except for one final detail.
Unlike back in December, Edgewood wasn't able to take control of the contest in the first half. Instead, it was Greencastle who controlled the early parts of the contest, and had a five-point lead after the first quarter.
And unlike the last contest, when a 17-4 run in the second quarter put the game effectively on ice, Greencastle hung with the Mustangs, taking an eight point lead into halftime. The shooting of sophomore Mallory Miller was key, scoring 11 points, including 3 three pointers.
Greencastle head coach Brad Key was happy with the first half performance.
"Mallory hit a couple of shots and got flowing in the first half," Key said. "Her threes were important. I thought we did the fast break well. We put pressure on them."
In fact, Greencastle was able to keep the Mustangs in check for most of the third quarter. But as the contest wore on, Edgewood began to ratchet up the intensity, leading to a dramatic finish. The Mustangs, down six with 5 minutes left in the game, began to chip away at the GHS lead. Some key free throw misses down the stretch, coupled with quick baskets, allowed Edgewood to take the lead with 1:47 remaining.
Greencastle continued to fight on, but two Miller misses set up Edgewood to seemingly ice the contest. The Mustangs, though, missed three of their last four free throws, leading 60-58 with seven seconds left after the last miss and a Tiger Cub timeout.
Senior Tennille Burgeson took the inbounds pass, calmly moved up the floor and ran to the free throw line, tossed up a low arching floater, and watched as it went in off the backboard, tying the contest and sending the game into overtime.
When asked about the play, Coach Key said, it was for Tennille to do.
"We called the time out for the last shot and told Tennille to take it and go score," Key said. "She is our captain and our leader, and I'm proud of what she has done for us this year."
From there, however, the Mustang momentum would be too much, as Burgeson fouled out and Edgewood's Hannah Rommel hit two three pointers and four free throws to end the Tiger Cubs' season, 71-65.
As he spoke, Coach Key was visibly disappointed with the outcome, but certainly not by his team's performance.
"We had a young team this year. Even the seniors had not had that much playing time before this year," Key noted. "We leaned on Tennille a lot tonight and throughout the season. When she fouled out, it hurt. We were in a tough situation because we were also short in that position."
"Chelsea Samuels played 36 minutes tonight," Key said. "When we've been in tight games, she never comes out. She played awesome. Along with Tennille, our two other seniors, Kayla Nobles and Kate Babington, did a great job in leading this team. We'll miss all three of them."
While it hurt then and there, Key was still impressed by his squad.
"We made silly plays at times. But the effort was awesome. It was a great season. We won the conference and the county with a team that people said wasn't supposed to be that good. I'm so proud of this team this year."
Edgewood 8 14 19 19 11 -- 71
Greencastle 13 17 15 15 5 -- 65
Edgewood -- Luther 1, 0-0, 2, Edmonson 2, 0-4, 4, Delay, 3, 2-4, 8, Rommel 10, 7-12, 31, Hacker 8, 3-4, 21, Weddle 2, 1-1, 5
Three Pointers -- Rommel (4)
Greencastle -- Nobles 2, 0-0, 5, Burgeson 5, 3-4, 13, Samuels 4, 1-2, 9, Babington, 2, 0-0, 4, Wainman 1, 0-0, 2, Miller 7, 1-2, 19, Pruitt 4, 5-6, 13
Three Pointers -- Miller (4), Nobles
Greencastle finishes the season 13-8, WCC and Putnam County champions