GREENCASTLE – A furious fourth-quarter comeback attempt by North Montgomery's girls wasn't enough to overcome a furious Greencastle shooting start as the Chargers lost 59-48.
The Tiger Cubs, who move to 3-15, were shooting 27 percent from the three-point ring for the season, but hit 8 of their first 10 long shots as they jumped out to a big early lead.
Hitting seven straight at one point of the second quarter, the home team found their zone at McAnally Center, taking a 31-13 halftime lead and extending the lead to as much as 20 in the third quarter.
The Chargers, who fall to 11-7, mounted the comeback by taking their offense inside. They scored the last seven points of the third quarter and went inside time and again to whittle the lead down to as little as four (44-40 with 2:39 left).
The Tiger Cubs sealed the win with a 14-of-21 effort from the free throw line in the last four minutes.
“We were down 20 and got it back to four,” North coach Ryan Nuppau said. “You just have to give credit to Greencastle for shooting so well early. We adjusted well in the second half, going to our high-post offense and attacking inside, and we pushed the all a lot better in transition, but in the end they made a lot of their free throws. The only thing I wasn't pleased with was that we didn't have much fire to start the game. We were too passive, and that led to them getting some open looks, and the they hit them all.”
Greencastle, who scored only 15 points in a loss Monday to Cloverdale, made up for the off night by setting a new season-high for points.
“We had a team meeting last night,” Tiger Cubs coach Doug Greenlee said. “There wasn't a secret speech or anything – we told the girls to be more aggressive on offense, to relax, and to be ready to shoot. I've been waiting for a breakout game like this, and tonight is a huge win for our team. We played well with the lead, we shot our free throws down the stretch, and the girls had each other's backs. I'm hoping this can help springboard our season a bit as we head towards the end.”
Evelyn Briones was the hottest of the hot shooters, as the sophomore didn't miss. She hit all six field goals, five from deep, and all four free throws to finish with 21 points, more than three times her season average (5.8).
“She answered the call,” Greelee noted.
Emma Hunter dropped three treys, finishing with 15 points, and Anna Zellers had a pair of threes. Overall, the Tiger Cubs were 10-of-19 from long rage. They finished 17-of-37 from the field and 15-of-25 from the line.
The Chargers, who didn't have a second-quarter rebound, grabbed nearly every one available in the. second half.
They notched 15 second-chance points in the second half as they tried to erase the deficit.
Katie Rice scored 14 of her team-high 20 points in the second half, and grabbed 11 of her game-high 12 rebounds in the same time span.
“Katie had a big second half,” Nuppau said of the senior, “and Madi (Welch) did a good job of handling the ball against their pressure. We got more aggressive on offense, which we needed.”
Welch finished with 10 points and Piper Ramey added 11. Ramey and Lydia Dugard each grabbed six boards.
For the game, North was 18-of-46 from the field, missed all six three-pointers and were 12-of-14 from the line. They won the rebound battle 33-27.
“We were really concerened with North and their inside game,” Greenlee said. “We will savor this win. We could easily play North again in the sectionals.”
“It was a learing experience,” Nuppau said. “We learned that if we don't play tight enough defense, open players can hit shots.”
The Chargers are back in Sagamore Conference action Friday against Danville.
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