After watching their seventh grade counterparts win the game before, the eighth grade squad knew it was up to them to complete a county sweep in basketball championships. They did just that, defeating South Putnam 35-14 and to complete the sweep.
GMS head coach Matt Welker said the team knew going into Thursday's contest that was a possibility, but the coaching staff didn't put too much of an emphasis on it.
"We knew that going in," Welker said. "We tried to not make it a big deal to the team before the game. They didn't need any more added pressure. We wanted to come out and play our game. We felt like if we played our game, that's what we need to focus on. Yes, obviously very glad to complete the Greencastle county sweep."
The usually hot starting Tiger Cubs opened the game subdued with their first bucket coming at the 3:51 mark when Sydney Smiley put a shot in while being fouled. After that GMS began to heat up.
Greencastle jumped out to an 8-0 lead as its defense caused the Eagles problems early and often.
However, South Putnam's Katelyn Lady connected on a long three-pointer to make the score 8-3 in favor of GMS. The Tiger Cubs responded with six unanswered points to close out the opening quarter.
Smiley scored six points to lead Greencastle in the quarter, with Jessica Lenihan adding five. The bench primarily played the second quarter, but the Tiger Cubs didn't let up on the pressure. They limited South Putnam to just two points in the second quarter and took a 20-5 lead into the break.
Both cheer blocks kept the excitement level up leading into halftime and resumed their raucous, yet respectful, behavior following the break.
Following the break, Greencastle picked up where it left off. The Tiger Cubs posted another double-digit quarter, scoring 11 points in the third. Again the stifling GMS defense allowed just two points on a Jessica Jones basket.
Sydney Stuckwisch led the Tiger Cubs with seven points in the quarter, with Taylor Stoltey and Lenihan adding two points each. On the flip side, South Putnam's shooting woes continued. The Eagles were 1-for-14 in the first half and were 1-of-11 in the third.
With a 24-point lead heading into the final stanza, Greencastle turned to its bench to take the game home. Lauren Bridgewater and Sammy Newcomer scored two points each for GMS in the final quarter.
For the first time all evening South Putnam outscored the Tiger Cubs. Emily Dobson scored four points and Lady hit another three-point as South Putnam posted seven points to Greencastle's four.
But as the buzzer sounded it was the purple and gray that flooded onto the floor after the team's congratulated each other. The Tiger Cubs won 35-14 and made the Greencastle county sweep a reality.
With the win, Greencastle ended its season at 12-3 and Welker was nothing but complimentary of his team and its work ethic following the game.
"(I'm) very proud of our team overall," Welker said. "Every girl on the team has improved dramatically to become better basketball players over the course of the season. They show up every day, they work hard in practice, very dedicated, disciplined, hardworking group. They get along extremely well on and off the basketball floor which is certainly what we expect from the team."
At South Putnam
Greencastle 14 6 11 4 -- 35
South Putnam 3 2 2 7 -- 14
Greencastle -- Stuckwisch 9, Smiley 6, Lenihan 6, Secrest 4, T. Stoltey 4, D. Stoltey 2, Bridgewater 2, Newcomer 2. Totals: 16-41 FG, 3-7 FT, 35 TP.
South Putnam -- Lady 6, Dobson 5, Jones 3. Totals: 4-27 FG, 2-4 FT, 14 TP.