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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

With promising draw, Tiger Cubs have sights set on sectional title

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Greencastle senior Rayleigh Amis looks to get the Tiger Cubs out an running after a rebound against Danville earlier this year.
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Greencastle girls' basketball coach Bradley Key thinks he has a good team. He thinks they can compete with anyone.

With the way the bracket has been lined up for the Tiger Cubs, he may not be challenged to do that until they reach the sectional final.

"Probably the strongest three teams are on the opposite side of the bracket of us," Key said. "I guess that's kind of good news, but I don't think we can come close to taking West Vigo lightly."

The Vikings, Greencastle's first-round opponent at Brown County High School on Tuesday, have had an up-and-down season, including a 12-point loss to the Tiger Cubs earlier this year.

"But they're young, so you know they've improved," Key said. "They barely lost to a solid Edgewood team. I talked to Owen Valley's coach and he said West Vigo gave them a run for their money."

Still, that 12-point win earlier this year is hard to ignore. And Greencastle is young, too. Of the eight players in its regular rotation, two are juniors and four are sophomores.

"I told (the team) I'm not sure there's another team in this sectional that has eight good players like we do now," Key said. "We don't have an (Alicia) Wilson (from Owen Valley). We don't have a (Vanessa) Brown from Edgewood. We don't have a Sasha Robinson from Brown County. But we do have eight players that can rotate in and almost not skip a beat. We'll use that to our advantage."

Win Tuesday and they have a promising matchup with struggling South Vermillion.

"It does look good if we get past that West Vigo game," Key said. "We're excited about it. We've believed all year that we have a shot at this sectional. The draw was pretty good to us, so we're excited for it."

Greencastle has proven it can stay with any opponent. When the girls are missing shots, they make up for the difference with aggressiveness.

"We are a blue collar team, through and through. That's a good thing. I'd rather have that than a bunch of divas out there playing," Key said. "I think we're a hustle team. I think we get a lot of touches (on defense). If there's a loose ball, we'll get on it."

The beauty of being a hardworking team is, even when the shots aren't falling the effort will always be there.

While GHS has weapons, they've been hit or miss at times.

"I have every bit of confidence that when we need to, we can knock down shots," Key said. "(Junior) Alex Basile is a gamer. Shelby Earl can hit at any point in time. (Sophomore) Jessica Lenihan is one of the better players around ... Taylor Stoltey is very athletic and is getting a lot more varsity time with us now."

Lenihan is the team's leading scorer.

Stoltey had a double-double against Owen Valley on Tuesday.

They'll have some competition along the way, but if Greencastle can make it to the final, they'll only have to face one of the three toughest teams in the draw.

Edgewood has knocked GHS out of the tournament for each of the last four years, but the Tiger Cubs topped them on Dec. 1.

"We beat Edgewood. We were right there with Brown County," Key said. "And (against Owen Valley), I thought we played very poorly for two-and-a-half, three quarters and we still kept in the game."

Stay alive and advance.

The Tiger Cubs can play with anyone. If they play like they should, they'll have a chance to prove it on Saturday night.

Greencastle junior Alex Basile spies a passing lane to senior Rayleigh Amis in a game earlier this year against Owen Valley.
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GHS opens sectionals on Tuesday against West Vigo.

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