By BRETT MARSHALL
TRIBUNE — It was a year ago Greeley County went into the Syracuse gymnasium and dismantled the previously unbeaten Bulldogs by 20 in a game they limited Syracuse to just six first half points.
Tuesday, the Jackrabbits were dominant again against Syracuse, except in this case it was a slow demolition as Greeley County thumped the Bulldogs 55-35.
"We talk defense a lot," Greeley County coach Jeff Starkey said. "It's a pride thing for us and I think we learned a lot from the games we played in Scott City (Invitational). We recognized what Syracuse was wanting to do and I thought our defensive rotation and post defense was outstanding tonight."
Starkey came into the Tuesday game concerned whether his players would have much energy in their legs following the Scott City tournament and how many minutes most of his starters played.
"On Monday, at practice, we looked tired and I didn't know how they'd react tonight," Starkey said. "But Jonathan (Miller) did a really good job on (Tate) Housholder and I was hesitant to have him do that because I didn't want him to get into foul trouble, but he handled it well."
The game started with neither team able to do much offensively as the Jackrabbits led just 10-7 at the end of the first quarter. Things did pick up in the second quarter, but more so for Greeley County as a 15-8 scoring margin provided a 10-point halftime advantage.
The margin continued to build after three quarters when Greeley County led 34-22.
The Bulldogs got two quick baskets to open the fourth quarter and pull within eight when Housholder (13 points) and Drew Brown (12 points) each knocked down a bucket. Syracuse was within nine when Housholder knocked down a baseline driving shot with 6:06 to play. A 12-0 run by the Jackrabbits, though, took the Bulldogs back out of the game.
"Offensively, at the start of the second half, I think I made the kids too tight offensively," Starkey said. "They were scared to attack when they had the opportunities and part of being good is knowing when to attack."
The stingy Jackrabbit defense forced the Bulldogs into 21 turnovers, while the Jackrabbits turned the ball over 18 times. Greeley County limited Syracuse to 13-of-42 shooting (31 percent) while connecting on 16-of-33 (48.4 percent) of their shots. The Bulldogs had a narrow 22-21 rebounding edge as Brown paced Syracuse with seven while Anthony Wilson grabbed five for the Jackrabbits.
The Bulldogs (4-1) were coming off a Rolla Showcase tournament championship. The Jackrabbits took second at the Scott City Invitational, losing to Wichita Sunrise in the title game Saturday night. Both teams return to action Friday night with Greeley County (4-1) hosting Sharon Springs, and Syracuse travels to Southwestern Heights for a Hi-Plains League encounter.
Greeley Co. 55, Syracuse 35
SYRACUCE (4-1) — Parks 0-1 0-0 0, Brown 4-11 3-4 12, B. Simon 0-7 0-0 0, Housholder 5-12 3-4 13, Petersen 1-4 2-2 4, D. Simon 1-1 0-2 2, Burkett 2-3 0-1 4, McAllister 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 13-42 8-13 35.
GREELEY CO. (4-1) — Miller 5-6 3-4 13, Splitter 0-1 0-0 0, Nemechek 0-1 4-4 4, A. Wilson 3-3 3-4 10, Robertson 1-1 2-2 4, Houston 3-8 0-0 6, Schneider 2-5 4-4 8, I. Wilson 2-7 4-4 10. Totals 16-33 20-22 55.
Syracuse 7 8 7 13 — 35
Greeley Co. 10 15 9 21 — 55
3-point goals — Syracuse 1-7 (Parks 0-1, Brown 1-4, B. Simon 0-2), Greeley Co. 3-10 (A. Wilson 1-1, Houston 0-1, Schneider 0-1, I. Wilson 2-7). Rebounds — Syracuse 22 (Brown 7), Greeley Co. 21 (A. Wilson 5). Turnovers — Syracuse 21, Greeley Co. 18. Fouls — Syracuse 16, Greeley Co. 12. Fouled out — none.