LEBANON SECTIONAL: Tiger Cubs hoping field’s best record translates into sectional championship
Greencastle will take the best record into this week’s Lebanon Sectional, but coach Bryce Rector isn’t in any way taking any of the other teams lightly.
He’s only in his second year as a head coach, but has already picked up on the lingo of his more experienced predecessors.
“Everybody is 0-0 now,” he said after Friday’s impressive 84-49 win at North Montgomery, in which his team shot over 70 percent from the field. “It’s a wide-open field, and any of the teams can come out and win a game on any night. It’s going to be a battle.
“Our focus is solely on Western Boone,” Rector added. “They have some guys who can shoot the ball and they really spread you out.”
The teams met in late January at Thorntown, as the Tiger Cubs were in the last game of a run of three outings in four nights.
Greencastle led 18-7 after one quarter, 33-18 at halftime and 46-32 after three quarters before their legs got a little tired.
The Stars amassed an amazing total of 33 points in the fourth period, but the Cubs were able to put up 25 of their own and hang on for a 71-65 win.
“We’re going to have to win three games in four days to win this sectional, too,” Rector noted. “We’ll make some adjustments, and we’ll be ready to go on Wednesday night.”
Tri-West won the sectional involving many of the same teams, but was moved this year to Beech Grove. Southmont moved up from Class 2A due to the enrollment reclassification, and Benton Central was added to the field with Frankfort also moving to a different grouping.
Greencastle, which was the host team last year, has a 3-1 record against the other sectional opponents. Its only loss came 50-49 to Southmont, which has a 12-9 record entering the tourney.
The Mounties had an in-season coaching change, and lost four of their last five games entering the tourney.
Rector and the Cubs are not looking anywhere near Southmont, which sits on the top of the bracket with a first-round bye.
Senior Colin York has led the Cubs in scoring, and this year became the school’s career leader in 3-point field goals and the third-leading scorer in school history.
Junior Gavin Bollman has averaged a double-double all season long, and freshmen Brody Whitaker and Benton Parmley have added strong shooting and ballhandling to the mix.
The Cubs finished third in the Western Indiana Conference, losing their only divisional game by two points at Sullivan and winning the crossover game with Indian Creek.
“I really thought this could be a team that could win 15 games,” Rector said. “I thought we let a couple of games slip away that we could have won, but I also think we won a couple that we could have easily lost. That’s the way the season goes.
“The thing I’m most proud about is how this team has jelled together and become a cohesive group,” he added. “I fully expected that. For those expectations to be met is very rewarding.”
York and Hutcheson are seniors for the Cubs, while Bollman, Trey Wood and Andrew York are juniors.
Fellow freshman Nick Sutherlin has joined the eight-man rotation.
“We are still a fairly young team,” Rector said. “Nick has been playing well, and Cade Plew [another freshman] came in and did some good things [against North Montgomery].”
The Cubs were lethal from long distance against North Montgomery, and Rector knows that the continued strong play from Bollman is a necessity this week.
The 6-5 junior was 10 of 12 from the field on Friday, and Rector feels he is a key for the team to have success.
“For us to win the sectional, Gavin is going to have to be as good as he was [Friday night]. That’s plain and simple.”
WEDNESDAY'S GAME CAPSULE
Greencastle (15-7) vs. Western Boone (7-15)
Tipoff: 6 p.m. at Lebanon
The coaches: Bryce Rector is in his second year at Greencastle. Bronson Lickliter is in his first year at Western Boone.
Season recap: The Stars lost their last six games to end the regular season. Greencastle won its final two games to end the regular season.
Opponents’ records: WeBo 253-228, Greencastle 263-235.
John Harrell prediction: Greencastle 58, WeBo 51
Per-game averages: Offense – Greencastle 54.0, WB 54.7. Defense – Greencastle 50.4, WB 59.9.
Last sectional title: Greencastle 2004, WeBo 2000.
The history: Greencastle won 71-65 at Thorntown in January. Western Boone has won three of the five matchups over the past 30 years.