Greencastle's Nick Hutcheson scored 26 points, grabbed nine rebounds, blocked three shots and made one steal while leading the Tiger Cubs to an 83-75 victory over the South Vermillion Wildcats.
Hutcheson was honored prior to the game for becoming the sixth GHS player to top the 1,000-point mark for his career. It was also announced the 6-foot-7 senior would continue his basketball career at Southern Indiana University, an NCAA Division II program.
"(Greencastle) is a very good basketball team. Hutcheson is a great player and we tried doing whatever we could do trying to keep him from getting the basketball," South Vermillion coach Michael Byrum said.
But Phillip Harpenau is the reason a very young South Vermillion team stayed with the Tiger Cubs. The 6-foot-5 four-year varsity senior scored a game-high 28 points, hitting 5-of-8 three-point shots, grabbed nine rebounds made one steal and blocked two shots.
"I thought (Harpenau) played outstanding. I thought he was the one who carried them on his shoulders and kept them in the game. I thought he was going to beat us by himself for a while," Greencastle coach Troy Greenlee said.
Since the big guys played each other even, the game was decided at the other four positions and free throw shooting.
Greencastle's Hayden Stuckwisch scored 17 points and made 10 steals, which countered the 17 points by SV's Josh Vaughan. Trevor Huber tossed in 14 points for the Tiger Cubs.
Despite scoring a season-high 83 points, the Tiger Cubs had to hit free throws in the closing minutes because they gave up a season-high 75 points.
"We started out trying to zone them and gave up some easy baskets there. We tried to switch some things up defensively, man (to man) and our half-court trap. At times our half-court trap looked good and other times we weren't active enough and on our man defense I thought we were lazy at times. We weren't getting after it like we should," Greenlee said.
Over the final 1:07, Brad Haussin, Stuckwisch and Hutcheson each hit two free throws and Nick Gilliam one. Greencastle was 17-27 (63 percent) from the free throw line.
"That was a big key there at the end there when they were fouling us and putting us at the line, we did hit our free throws. The unfortunate thing is we put ourselves in that situation to begin with. I felt like defensively we were very porous in about anything we played," Greenlee said.
Greencastle got off to a slow start, trailing 9-6 midway through the opening quarter. But threes by Gilliam and Huber gave the Tiger Cubs an 18-11 lead going into the second quarter.
South Vermillion's Harpenau hit three threes in the second quarter as the Wildcats rallied to tie the score 32-32 at halftime.
The lead changed hands three times in the third quarter before Stuckwisch put the Tigers ahead for good with a three that started a 9-2 run over the final 1:22 in the period. Greencastle led 55-49 going into the final eight minutes.
SV's Harpenau picked up his fourth foul with seven minutes to play and with him on the bench Greencastle extended the lead to 10 points. Back-to-back buckets by Hutcheson gave Greencastle a 61-51 lead with 5:49 left.
With 1:30 to play, Stuckwisch took his 10th steal of the game for a layup and 76-65 Greencastle lead.
"(Stuckwisch) keys us in a lot of areas, on offense and defense. Obviously we can't expect 10 steals every night, but to get a lot of deflections is something we count on him to do," Greenlee said.
Free throw shooting guaranteed the Tiger Cubs victory in their final game before the Christmas break.
South Vermillion 11 21 17 26 --75
Greencastle 18 14 23 28 -- 83
South Vermillion (75) -- Vaughan 8-16 1-1 17, Hire 2-7 0-0 5, Harpenau 9-16 5-8 28, Lawson 5-8 0-0 10, Weyrauch 3-5 2-2 10, Luft 0-0 0-0 0, Sanders 0-0 0-0 0, Spivey 0-0 0-0 0, Hines 1-1 0-0 2, Branz 1-4 0-0 4, Waldrop 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-57 FG, 8-11 FT, 75 TP.
Greencastle (83) -- Stuckwisch 6-14 4-6 17, Tesmer 1-1 3-4 5, Hutcheson 11-15 4-9 26, Huber 5-9 0-0 14, Haussin 2-5 2-2 8, Gilliam 2-5 4-6 9, Muncie 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 29-52 FG, 17-27 FT, 83 TP.
3Pt. Goals: SV 9-19 (Harpenau 5-8, Weyrauch 2-5, Hire 1-2, Branz 1-2, Vaughan 0-1), GHS 8-14 (Huber 4-5, Haussin 2-2, Stuckwisch 1-3, Gilliam 1-4). Total fouls: SV 20, GHS 15. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: SV 32 (Harpenau 9, Vaughan 8, Lawson 7, Hire 6, Team 2), GHS 29 (Hutcheson 9, Tesmer 4, Gilliam 4, Haussin 3, Team 3, Huber 2). Steals: SV 10 (Lawson, Branz 3, Luft 2, Harpenau 1, Weyrach 1), GHS 15 (Stuckwisch 10, Muncie 2, Hutcheson 1, Huber 1, Gilliam 1).
JV game -- Greencastle won 49-35.
Next game -- Greencastle (5-1) plays at Danville on Dec. 28.