The Greenwood girls’ basketball team opened its pre-Christmas tournament with a 69-61 loss to Casey County on Tuesday at Greenwood High School.

Playing without three players, including second-leading scorer Kayla Grant, Greenwood (4-2) struggled to stop Casey County on the defensive end.

“We told them the mentality is next man up,” Greenwood coach Zach Simpson said. “One of our focuses at the beginning of the year was to get better on the defensive end and to hold a team to a certain number of points. Right now each one of these players have to start being accountable for what they are not doing defensively. That starts in practice. That starts with us holding them accountable as coaches, but more importantly them holding each other accountable.”

Casey County (3-5) got off to a strong start with a 3 from Natalie Pierce to make the score 18-10 late in the first quarter. The Lady Rebels shot 50% in the first half – with most shots in the paint – and continued to hold the advantage, although Greenwood cut the deficit to 34-31 by halftime after a 3 from Leia Trinh in the final seconds.

The momentum quickly went back to Casey County to start the second half as the Lady Rebels steadily pulled away to extend the margin to 52-37 late in the third quarter.

Greenwood came charging back with 14 straight points – capped by a bucket by Trinh early in the fourth quarter that trimmed the deficit to one point. Greenwood had a chance for its first lead since the first quarter on the next possession, but Trinh’s 3 rimmed off and Casey County responded with six straight points to extend the lead back to 58-52.

Greenwood was unable to get closer than four points the rest of the way as Yalee Yocum sealed the Casey County win with six free throws in the final 88 seconds.

“We went to a little half court zone press right there that we hadn’t practiced a lot,” Simpson said. “We turned them over three times. The resiliency within our team is a positive. To be able to be down 14 and cut it to one, they could have laid down. They could have felt sorry for themselves, but they fought back and that was a positive. We did some good things but not enough for us to be victorious tonight.”

Trinh finished with a game-high 35 points, while Alex Doig had 10 points for Greenwood.

Yocum led Casey County with 25 points. Madison Chansler added 15 points and Pierce finished with 13 points.

Greenwood was scheduled to play Marion County on Tuesday night before wrapping up the tournament against Clinton County at noon Wednesday.

Simpson said he is hopeful the defensive effort in those two games will be better than the previous two games.

“They know I am upset at their defensive effort,” Simpson said. “I wholeheartedly think they are going to come out (against Marion County) and give a better effort on the defensive end. They know it is unacceptable right now the way we are playing defense. Not only against Casey County, but last Friday night against Bowling Green.”

CCHS 18 16 18 17 – 69

GHS 15 16 18 12 – 61

CC – Yocum 28, Chansler 15, Pierce 13, Dunn 8, Gill 3, Wethington 2.

GHS – Trinh 35, Doig 13, Lovall 8, McCorkle 3, Peterson 2.{&end}

– Follow prep sports reporter Micheal Compton on Twitter @mcompton428 or visit bgdailynews.com.

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