Host Greencastle was about as close as a high school basketball team can come to a perfect quarter Monday night against Sullivan, making every shot and rebounding every Sullivan miss for the first six minutes of the fourth period.
Considering that the Tiger Cubs went into that quarter with a two-point lead, those statistics made a comeback by the Golden Arrows virtually impossible, and Greencastle further tightened the Western Indiana Conference race with a 60-50 win.
"That will help you win a lot of games," coach Bryce Rector of Greencastle said when told of those numbers. "We didn't play well against Northview [in a WIC loss Friday], so to make adjustments in two days, with no practices, says a lot, and [the Tiger Cubs] were able to do it against a very good Sullivan team."
Brody Whitaker became Greencastle's all-time leading scorer with the last basket of the third quarter, which broke a 35-35 tie and started the 11-0 run that put the game out of reach.
"Whitaker is very, very good, and we had a tough time with him tonight," said coach Jeff Moore of the Golden Arrows. "He's by far the best player in our conference."
Besides breaking the scoring record originally set by Mike Troyer more than 50 years ago, Whitaker had 27 points, 15 rebounds (on a night with only 46 missed shots), four assists and a steal. But he had just one other basket in the 11-0 run and just four points in the fourth period as the rest of the Cubs — led by Nick Sutherlin and Bennie Parmley — helped put the game away. "They have other players too," Moore added.
The lead changed hands nine times in the first half. Greencastle had a 9-0 run that started late in the first quarter and gave the home team an 18-11 lead, but Sullivan countered with an 11-2 run of its own. Unlike the Tiger Cubs, however, the visitors never got any breathing room, never leading by more than three points.
"We went through a stretch there where we couldn't hit layups," said Moore, whose team shot under 40% from 2-point range and never got the lead back in the second half.
A 3-pointer by Sutherlin with two seconds left before halftime provided the ninth lead change and Greencastle never trailed again. Whitaker got the first five points of the third quarter to increase the home team's lead to 31-24, but Braden Flanagan of the Arrows stole the ball and hit a huge 3-pointer to start another Sullivan comeback. Rocco Roshel connected from long range for the game's last tie at 35-35, before Whitaker hit his record-breaking shot and the Cubs were on their way.
The loss was Sullivan's first in the WIC and made Edgewood, at 5-1, the temporary leader. Northview is at 3-1, the Arrows at 2-1 and Greencastle at 5-2, with several other teams at .500 and on the verge of contention.
"We told the kids [in the locker room after the game], it's still in our hands," Moore pointed out. "We have to keep plugging away, learn from [this loss] and get better . . . [the other contenders] have to come to our place, but I don't know if the home court means much this year."
Parmley scored 13 and Sutherlin 11 for Greencastle, while Randy Kelley had 20 points and Flanagan and Jackson Hills 11 each for Sullivan.
SULLIVAN (50) — Hills 5-10 1-2 11, King 0-2 0-0 0, Pirtle 0-0 0-0 0, Kelley 8-15 1-1 20, Flanagan 4-14 0-0 11, Roshel 3-6 0-0 8, Adams 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 20-49 FG, 2-3 FT, 50 TP.
GREENCASTLE (60) — Whitaker 10-15 5-5 27, Sutherlin 3-7 4-4 11, Plew 3-4 0-0 6, Parmley 4-5 4-6 13, Alexander 1-2 0-0 3, Hutcheson 0-2 0-0 0, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Hassler 0-0 0-0 0, Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Kempf 0-0 0-0 0, Rodgers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-35 FG, 13-15 FT, 60 TP.
3-point shooting — Sullivan 8-18 (Kelley 3-4, Flanagan 3-8, Roshel 2-5, Adams 0-1), Greencastle 5-13 (Whitaker 2-4, Parmley 1-2, Alexander 1-2, Sutherlin 1-4, Plew 0-1). Total fouls — Sullivan 17, Greencastle 8. Fouled out — Flanagan. Turnovers — Sullivan 7, Greencastle 11. Rebounds — Sullivan 19 (Hills 5, Kelley 5, Pirtle 2, King, Flanagan, Roshel, Team 4), Greencastle 27 (Whitaker 15, Plew 3, Alexander 3, Sutherlin 2, Parmley, Hutcheson, Hassler, Team 1). Assists — Sullivan 12 (Hills 3, Kelley 3, Flanagan 3, Pirtle 2, Roshel), Greencastle 11 (Whitaker 4, Plew 4, Parmley 2, Hutcheson). Steals — Sullivan 5 (Kelley 3, Flanagan 2), Greencastle 2 (Whitaker, Alexander). Blocks — Sullivan 0, Greencastle 1 (Sutherlin).
JV — Sullivan 45, Greencastle 32.
Next — Greencastle (10-3, 5-2 WIC) hosts North Putnam and Sullivan (8-2, 2-1) hosts West Vigo on Friday.