Greencastle sweeps SP: Cub girls get OT victory, boys win sluggish nightcap

Saturday, December 9, 2017
Greencastle’s Allison Stevens kicks the ball back out after being stopped by South Putnam defenders Lillie Stein (35) and Aubrey Hill (30).
Banner Graphic/JOEY BENNETT

Greencastle recorded a pair of Western Indiana Conference basketball victories on Friday night over visiting South Putnam, with the Tiger Cubs winning the girls’ game 63-58 in overtime and the boys’ game by a 51-43 margin.

Both Greencastle teams improved to 2-0 in WIC action with their victories, while South Putnam’s girls evened their record at 1-1 and the Eagle boys dropped to 0-2.

In the girls’ game, the Eagles were looking to avenge a one-point loss last month in the county tournament.

Coach Brian Gardner normally has his team in a man-to-man defense, but chose to start the game in a zone defense to slow down the effective man-to-man offense the Tiger Cubs run.

“It was something we decided to do, and you have to give them credit,” said Gardner, who watched the Cubs hit 5 of 12 from long range in the first half. “They came out and hit shots.”

Greencastle coach Bradley Key admits not being surprised by the change in tactics.

“Our 3-point percentage has been pretty poor,” he admitted. “I thought it might happen.”

Greencastle got a pair of treys from Jalyn Duff and one from reserve Marin Nally to take a 16-8 lead at the end of one quarter, and Nally hit two more to open the second quarter for a 22-8 lead.

“We have been shooting it much better in practice,” Key said. “We hit a pretty good percentage [6 of 19], better than we usually do.

“Marin Nally comes in and just busts the zone open,” he added. “When a team goes zone, we know Marin can come in and bust it open.”

The Eagles went back to man-to-man, and were able to cut the gap to 28-22 at halftime. Lexi Vanihel had a steal and a layup with 33 seconds to end a 7-0 Eagle run, but Duff hit a pair of free throws before halftime to stop that run.

Greencastle’s Allison Stevens opened the second half with a basket, but Lillie Stein hit two free throws and a basket and Caitlin Capps added a free throw to cut the lead to 30-27.

Miranda Bieghler hit a trey with 4:15 left in the period to give the Eagles their first lead at 32-31.

The rest of the way was a back-and-forth dogfight, with Greencastle leading 28-26 at the final stop.

South Putnam led at 40-39, 43-40, 48-46 and 54-52 in the fourth quarter but could not put the Cubs away.

One huge turn of events came when Duff made one free throw and missed the second with 1:38 left in regulation. Rose White grabbed the rebound and scored on a putback to give Greencastle the lead back.

White scored the final basket of regulation with 16.1 seconds left to force overtime.

Stein and Vanihel opened the overtime with baskets to put the Eagles up by four, but the Cubs scored the last nine points of the game to seal the win.

The Tiger Cubs picked up their eighth straight win after opening the season 0-3, and — including Tuesday’s win at No. 5-ranked Danville — Key could not be more happy with how the season has progressed.

“This top seven is about as fun as I’ve been around in a while,” Key added. “It’s all part of being a team. This is one of the better weeks that I’ve had as the head coach at Greencastle.”

Gardner had told his team it needed to keep Greencastle off the free throw line in order to be successful, and that goal was not accomplished. The Tiger Cubs attempted 31 free throws, including 23 in the fourth quarter and overtime.

“That’s where they get a lot of their points,” he said. “They do a good job of attacking the rim.

“It was a good game, and it was a fun game to be a part of,” Gardner added. “I would rather it had a different outcome to it, but was a very fun.”

Gardner was glad his team fought back from its early deficit.

“Greencastle was ready to play, and you have to give them credit,” Gardner said. “They hit some early shots, but our girls fought back. We put ourselves in a good position and got the lead back.

“One big thing for us is that we have to know time and possession,” he added. ”We were up four once and one in overtime. We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball.”

The boys’ game lacked the drama and intensity of the girls’ contest.

Scoring leaders Allen Plunkett (28) of South Putnam and Colin York (27) of Greencastle battled to a near standoff, but the Cubs were able to come up with a few more points from their supporting cast to hold on for the win.

Greencastle led 10-8 after one evenly-played quarter, and scored the first seven points of the second period

Greencastle led 22-14 at halftime and 31-25 after three periods, never able to put South Putnam away.

“Colin had a heckuva game,” South Putnam coach Greg Dean said. “Allen had a good game as well. Defensively we are doing a lot of good things and are holding teams to the numbers we wanted to.

“Thomas Fanning and Lane Watson both did a good job of chasing Colin around.”

Greencastle coach Bryce Rector noted his team, like many this time of year, was slowed a little by sickness but found a way to fight through it.

“Both teams were pretty good defensively,” he said. “We had to make every shot that they took difficult, and they hit some difficult shots. Allen is an awesome player, and I don’t know that he hit one uncontested shot all night.”

Girls’ game

SOUTH PUTNAM (58) — Stein 7-18 8-10 24, Bieghler 2-10 2-2 8, Vanihel 4-6 1-2 9, Capps 4-10 1-2 9, Nichols 0-1 0-0 0, Bratcher 1-4 2-2 4, Hill 1-5 2-2 4. Totals 19-50 FG, 16-20 FT, 58 TP.

GREENCASTLE (63) — Duff 3-8 8-10 17, White 5-11 6-10 16, Shuee 0-4 0-0 0, Stoffregen 2-3 2-2 6, Stevens 5-8 4-7 14, Nally 3-5 0-0 9, Robinson 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 18-42 FG, 21-31 FT, 63 TP

South Putnam 8 14 14 18 4 — 58

Greencastle 16 12 10 16 9 — 63

3-point shooting — South Putnam 4-20 (Stein 2-8, Bieghler 2-9, Vanihel 0-2, Capps 0-1), Greencastle 6-19 (Duff 3-6, Shuee 0-4, Nally 3-5, Robinson 0-2).

Boys’ game

SOUTH PUTNAM (43) — Plunkett 8-19 7-8 28, Fanning 2-5 0-0 5, Scott 1-9 0-0 3, Watson 1-2 0-0 3, Schnepp 0-2 0-0 0, Arnold 1-3 0-0 2, Lesko 0-1 0-0 0, Gregory 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 14-42 FG, 7-8 FT, 43 TP

GREENCASTLE (51) — C.York 8-20 8-8 27, Whitaker 2-7 0-0 6, Bollman 4-6 0-2 10, Hutcheson 1-2 1-2 3, A.York 1-1 0-0 2, Parmley 1-3 0-0 3, Wood 0-0 0-0 0, Hasty 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-39 FG, 9-12 FT, 51 TP

South Putnam 8 6 11 18 — 43

Greencastle 10 12 9 20 — 51

3-point shooting — South Putnam 8-18 (Plunkett 5-11, Fanning 1-3, Scott 1-3, Watson 1-1), Greencastle 8-22 (C.York 3-11, Whitaker 2-7, Bollman 2-02 Parmley 1-2).

South Putnam's Dalton Scott (23) looks to feed teammate Allen Plunkett in the post as Greencastle's Jack Hutcheson holds his ground against Plunkett.
Banner Graphic/JOEY BENNETT
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