Becky Greenlee, wife of head boys' basketball coach Troy Greenlee, suffered a heart attack earlier in the week and the outpouring of support has been constant ever since. From signs hanging around town, to updates on Facebook, support for the Greenlee family continued to grow and Friday was no different. Fans chanted her name, held signs of support and wore handmade necklaces.
There was even a moment of "spirit" before the game started, which filled cavernous McAnally Center with an ear deafening cheers in her honor.
Once the opening whistle sounded, the focus turned to the court where the Tiger Cubs gave an inspired performance to give their head coach one more thing to smile about. As his wife continues to show signs of improvement, Greenlee acknowledge his appreciation for the support he and his family has seen.
"The crowd was awesome," Greenlee said. "It's really neat to see a community like this come together and we all understand that basketball is a small part of it, but anything you do, you need to take as serious as you can and do it as hard as you can. Tonight our guys were able to focus on that and able to keep it in perspective.
"This week was a tough week. I thought they handled themselves as well as they could and I'm just really proud of be a part of it," Greenlee.
His squad came out hot in the opening quarter and built itself a solid 15-10 lead after one. But Cascade's scrappy guard play and ability to knock down the long shot allowed the Cadets to claw their way back and actually take a two-point lead into the half at 32-30.
"I thought we came in at halftime a little down because we had a couple leads in the first half and allowed them to come back and have a two-point lead at halftime," Greenlee said. "I was proud of the way our kids came out and were able to extend that lead a little bit and we did a much better job tonight than we did the last game of holding that lead.
"It wasn't pretty at times, we didn't hit all of our free throws, but I just felt our kids had that will to win tonight. No matter what happened, they weren't going to give up, they weren't going to quit and I think that was evident on both ends of the floor," he said
Greencastle opened the second half with a 9-0 run to retake the lead 39-32 and never looked back. Nick Hutcheson scored 11 of his game-high 28 points in the third quarter to pace the Tiger Cubs. GHS held a 49-41 lead heading into the final quarter after outscoring the Cadets 19-9 in the third.
The crowd's intensity continued to spur on the Tiger Cubs in the fourth quarter and went through the roof when Jesse Tesmer rose high to grab a missed layup by Hayden Stuckwisch and slammed it home to put GHS up 61-49 at that point.
The Cadets made a small run at the end, but it was a tale of too little tool late as the Tiger Cubs came away with a 73-61 victory to move to 9-4 on the season.
Greenlee has spent the week away from the court and when asked how it felt to have team that continued to work just as hard with him away, the coach noted, he expected nothing less.
"We talk a lot about being a family and families do that," Greenlee said. "They have each other's back and I felt that was evident in my family from home, but it was also evident to this week where I knew beyond any doubt that these guys would be prepared to play. And sure enough, they were. I was just really proud of everyone on this team: coaches, players -- everybody.
"I think we just came together this week and hopefully we can keep building on that," he added.
Greencastle will host North Putnam next Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Cascade 10 22 9 20 -- 61
Greencastle 15 15 19 24 -- 73
Greencastle -- Hutcheson 29, Tesmer 15, Huber 9, Haussin 8, Christy 8, Stuckwisch 4, Gilliam 1. Totals: 25-47 FG, 20-34 FT, 73 TP.