Greencastle tops Brown County in fourth-quarter shootout
After grabbing a share of the WCC title on Friday night, Greencastle's boys' basketball squad was looking to avoid a letdown and show their prowess to potential sectional opponent Brown County.
An offensive explosion in the final frame made up for a sluggish start as the Tiger Cubs took a 74-68 win over the Eagles.
Greencastle head coach Troy Greenlee said that the response after the Friday night game was encouraging.
"One of the things you always want to try to do at this time of the year is see how your kids respond after a big win the night before," Greenlee said.
"We were a little flat early. I didn't think we had a lot of energy early but we were able to bounce back and get a little bit of a lead. We were tied 42-42 at the end of the third quarter and I told them we had to win the fourth quarter."
The Friday night victory was a thing of the past very early on as the visitors took the game straight to Greencastle.
Eagle senior guard Jordan Rose proved to be menace to the Tiger Cub defense and showed early on that he would be a handful, scoring nine points in the quarter as Brown County built an early 14-5 lead.
Greencastle cut the deficit to two by the end of the quarter but found itself drawn into a much slower second period by the Eagles, who used only six players for much of the game.
A late basket and free throw from Nick Hutcheson gave the Tiger Cubs the lead at 27-26 going into halftime.
The home side came out of the break looking to create some space between themselves and the Eagles and initially did so, creating an eight-point lead after baskets from Jesse Tesmer, Brad Haussin and Hutcheson went in without reply.
Rose, however, was waiting to heat back up again and two late three-pointers, including one as the third quarter ended, tied the score at 42.
The game then became a track meet as both sides scored at will. The sides flipped the lead back and forth eight times through much of the fourth quarter before a bit of a lucky deflection helped nail down the game.
Hutcheson lost the handle on a shot near the free throw line, which he batted backwards, right into the hands of Hayden Stuckwisch.
Stuckwisch then hit his fourth three-pointer of the game to give the Tiger Cubs a 59-57 lead. Hutcheson got consecutive lay-ups to expand the lead to six before a Stuckwisch free throw, a Haussin jumper and a Hutcheson and-one play gave the hosts a double-digit lead.
Rose cut the lead in half with a lay-up and three-pointer, but ran out of time to keep the game alive as the Tiger Cubs outscored the Eagles 32-26 in the final quarter to take home their second straight win and their 11th of the season.
The coach hopes to see more of the team he saw in the fourth quarter.
"One of the things I'm looking for as a coach is if we are taking steps forward. We've had leads in the fourth quarter that we've struggled to maintain or increase them," Greenlee said.
"Tonight, even though we made some mistakes in the fourth quarter, I thought our kids played much looser. That was apparent with guys knocking in shots, making good passes and plays inside."
There are still improvements to make, though.
"We're not there yet, but we're getting better. That's the thing right now we're most concerned about," Greenlee said. "Even though it's late in the season, we don't want to be peeking yet. But, when we do peak, we want it to be really, really high. Hopefully, we're on the upswing right now.
"We've got to do better handling the ball. We can't turn the ball over as much as we did. We have to rebound better. We have to get better defensively."
After the weekend sweep, Greencastle will not be in action again until traveling to Northview on Tuesday, Feb.14. Greenlee said the squad will continue to build off of the pair of wins.
"Right now, we've got a little time off to work on some things. I've seen improvement over the last two nights and you never know how a team is going to respond after a tough weekend like last week," Greenlee said.
"There's a lot of things to work on, but we're starting to see some positive growth."
Brown County 16 10 16 26 -- 68
Greencastle 14 13 15 32 -- 74
Brown County -- 21-65 FG, 7-29 3-FG, 19-20 FT
Rose 35, Robinson 17, Wedan 11, Norman 3, Parker 2
Greencastle -- 29-51 FG, 7-12 3-FG, 9-15 FT
Hutcheson 30, Stuckwisch 13, Huber 12, Tesmer 11, Haussin 6, Christy 2