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Tiger Cubs lose opener to Crawfordsville

Thursday, November 22, 2012

GHS senior Nick Gilliam takes a charge from Crawfordsville's Chandler Pursell. The Tiger Cubs took three offensive fouls as a team, but it wasn't enough as they lost the 2012-13 season opener, 66-54.(Banner Graphic/GRANT WIEMAN) [Order this photo]
CRAWFORDSVILLE -- With only three upper classmen on the roster, the Greencastle boys' basketball team is ready to experience some growing pains.

Those showed in the season opener at Crawfordsville, as the Tiger Cubs lost 66-54.

Senior Nick Gilliam led the team in scoring with 16 points.

"This is the first time this group has played together," GHS head coach Troy Greenlee said. "I was very pleased with how our kids fought. I thought they fought the whole game. We got down a couple times in the first half, but we didn't give in."

The Athenians held a 9-2 lead midway through the first quarter, but Greencastle battled back.

Gilliam had nine in the quarter, making four-of-four free throws and staying active on both ends.

The team's defense stayed strong but Crawfordsville used a sporadic half court trap that flustered Greencastle's young guards.

The Tiger Cubs turned the ball over six times in the quarter, with many leading to easy buckets, and, in one case, an intentional foul call on a made layup.

Crawfordsville senior Chandler Pursell took a steal coast-to-coast then dropped in a layup as he absorbed a hard foul from GHS senior Nate Christy.

"It's hard to simulate that (trapping defense) in practice," Greenlee said. "I think maybe there are some things we can do X- and O-wise, or maybe personnel-wise, but it's just a matter of getting that experience."

Though they are leaders on the court, Greencastle's upperclassmen -- Gilliam, Christy and junior Holden King -- are not primary ball handlers or distributers for the offense.

Instead the team relies on a group of sophomores to handle the job, and their performance was inconsistent.

Athenian senior Jordan Jackson took the point defensively and came away with seven steals in the game. He also had a team-high 13 points.

Hot shooting by the Tiger Cubs (five-of-eight field goals) got the team back in the game in the second quarter.

King hit back-to-back threes late in the period to tie the game, and Greencastle trailed by only one at the half, 28-27.

Foul trouble soon caught up with both teams and each was in the bonus by the end of the third period.

Greencastle made only six-of-18 in the half, and Crawfordsville 16-25.

That free throw disparity was too much for the youthful Tiger Cubs to overcome and the game drifted away.

"I thought that was the difference in the game," Greenlee said. "We put them to the line way too much and they seemed to hit everything. We just didn't hit the shots at the line like we should have."

Sophomores Lane Winslow (eight points, five rebounds, two steals) and Calvin Hughes (seven points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal) showed flashes as playmakers off the bench, which GHS will need going forward.

The Tiger Cubs return to action next Friday when they host the County Classic.

At Crawfordsville

Greencastle -- 10 17 12 15 -- 54
Crawfordsville -- 15 13 17 21 -- 66

Individual scoring
Greencastle: Gilliam 7-13 FT, 4-8 FG, 16 TP; King 6-8, 3-6, 15; Winslow 2-5, 3-7, 8; Hughes 0-0, 3-7, 7; Mitchell 0-1, 1-2, 3; Bollman 0-0, 1-2, 2; Gerard 0-2, 1-1, 2; Christy 1-2, 0-3, 1; Foxx 0-0, 0-1, 0; Coble 0-0, 0-0, 0.
Crawfordsville -- Jackson 3-7, 4-10, 13; Pursell 5-6, 3-7, 12; Horner 1-2, 5-6, 12; Page 5-6, 3-7, 11; Conrad 5-6, 1-3, 7; Kidd 1-2, 2-3, 5; Turpin 0-0, 0-1, 0; Schafer 0-0, 0-0, 0; Miller 0-0, 0-0, 0.

Three pointers
Greencastle 6-12, Crawfordsville 3-13

Greencastle 23, Crawfordsville 23

Greencastle 24, Crawfordsville 17

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