Greencastle head coach Dave Lilly was pleased with his team's performance and was happy to see his team play some nice possession soccer.
"It feels real good," Lilly said. "A lot better taste in my mouth right now than it was last year at this time, that's for sure. Obviously, they're a conference opponent that we saw early in the season and pretty much had our way with them. I was concerned about letting down a little bit. They're a good team. Fundamentally they play well, they played hard, they obviously wanted to make it hard for us to score, so we possessed a lot in their half. I expected it might be that way to start out.
"Once we got the two-goal differential, they opened up a little bit, but at that point we pulled some of our horses that have been suffering a little bit. We have ankles, knees and feet banged up and stuff, so it was good to get everybody in and give the other guys a little bit more rest," he said.
The Tiger Cubs found it difficult to score in the first half mostly due to the Bulldogs sitting in front of the goal, not allowing the GHS squad to penetrate deep. But that didn't stop GHS junior Sonney Basham.
Basham, who had 19 goals entering Thursday's game, rocketed a shot past the defense to score the Tiger Cubs' first goal at the 17:45 mark in the first half. Greencastle went to the half clinging to its 1-0 lead.
Lilly said if he was in Monrovia's shoe, he would have played the cards the same way by stacking the defense. However, what worked in the first half didn't fare so well in the second.
Greencastle scored less than five minutes into the half when Evan Smith poked a shot into the net, putting the Tiger Cubs up 2-0 with 35:12 on the clock.
Basham struck again at the 31:16 mark when Cody Watson sent a corner kick toward the goal, where Basham out-jumped his Bulldog defender to head the ball into the goal giving the Tiger Cubs their final goal of the evening and moved the score to its final tally of 3-0.
Lilly said he let Basham run up front early hoping to get an early goal to bust the game open, but moved him to a holding mid position, where he's done most of his damage this year. He also acknowledged that while Basham lead the team in goals, they have more than one leg that is a threat.
"The problem with Greencastle is there's six of them. Yeah, there's two or three guys that have quite a few, but there's six that have more than most. So you really can't man mark us, someone else will put the ball in the net," Lilly said.
Another aspect of the game Lilly was proud of was the fact he was able to get all of his team some playing time on Thursday, something that could serve them well in Saturday's sectional final.
He also said he expects to see Martinsville in the finals on Saturday, but first things first; the Artesians have to take care of business against Mooresville.
"They have to play it," Lilly said. "Like I told my guys, records don't win game, now get out there and do it. It's good to start the second season 1-0."
Greencastle will play the winner of Mooresville vs. Martinsville Saturday in the sectional final at 2 p.m.
Mooresville Boys' Soccer Sectional
Greencastle 1 2 -- 3
Monrovia 0 0 -- 0
GHS -- Basham 17:45
GHS -- Smith 35:12
GHS -- Basham 31:16
Next match -- Greencastle will play the winner of Mooresville vs. Martinsville Saturday in the sectional final at 2 p.m.