MONROVIA -- Despite Jessica Canary scoring 21 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out four assists, the South Putnam girls' basketball lost to a strong Monrovia team Friday, 45-39.
"I thought Monrovia came out and they had a game plan," South Putnam Coach Debbie Steffy said. "They wanted to take Canary out of the ball game. I just felt like we had trouble finding other people to score for us tonight."
Although Canary put up big numbers, the rest of the South Putnam team only combined for 14 points in the game. Meghan Canary added six points and five rebounds to the effort, while Dara Booe and Liz Mink each had four points in the game.
"I thought we played with a little bit of rust," Steffy said.
Monrovia came out taking an early 7-2 lead with 4:37 remaining in the first quarter, stretching the lead to 11-4 on a Lauren Long steal and layup with 1:45 remaining in the quarter.
Jessica Canary hit a running one-handed jumper in the lane to cut the deficit to 11-6 before the end of the period. The basket started a 10-2 South Putnam run, giving the Eagles a slight lead 14-13 lead with 6:45 remaining in the half.
"I felt like we had a little better overall team play in that little span there," Steffy said. "But then the rest of the game it was like we were just standing around, watching Jessica and seeing what she could do."
Although the Eagles battled for the rest of the game, facing a 21-20 halftime deficit and 32-28 deficit at the end of the third quarter, they never saw another lead in the game.
The Bulldogs held their largest lead with 4:34 remaining in the fourth quarter when Shayla Black hit a three-pointer, making the score 39-28. The Eagles followed with a 6-0 run, cutting the Monrovia lead to 39-34 with 2:21 remaining, but could never get within five points in the final period.
"We talked about before the game that one of the keys to the game was taking the ball to the basket," Steffy said. "I've watched tapes, I've watched them play, I felt like we could have an advantaged if we could take them on a dribble penetration. We just didn't do that all night.
"We settled for 15-foot shots, when I felt like we could've got somewhere around five foot shots," she added.
Black led all scorers with 24 points in the game, while Rachel Hadley added 10 points. Five-foot-four Dani Speck led the Bulldogs in rebounding with eight in the game.
The Eagles fall to 11-5 on the season and 3-1 in the West Central Conference, while the Bulldogs improve to 9-6 on the season and 3-2 in the WCC.
Although South Putnam will lose some ground in the race for the conference title, Steffy is not about to give up the title hopes just yet.
"We're still in position for that," she said. "Everybody has a loss in the conference."
The Eagles play at Cloverdale Friday at 6 p.m.
"It's one of the games," Steffy said. "It's a good county rivalry game. Our kids know their kids, played against them and played with them. Our kids know them, as far as their tendencies. They know us. It's one of those games that's going to come down who executes the best."
South Putnam 6 14 8 11 -- 39
Monrovia 11 10 11 13 -- 45
South Putnam -- M. Canary 2 2-2 6, J. Canary 7 6-6 21, Stanifer 1 0-0 2, Birt 1 0-1 2, Boetjer 0 0-0 0, Booe 1 2-2 4, Robinson 0 0-0 1, Mink 2 0-0 4. Totals FG 14, FT 10-11, TP 39.
Monrovia -- Long 1 2-4 4, Black 8 7-7 24, Speck 0 0-1, Hadley 5 0-3 10, Funk 2 0-0 5, No. 40 1 0-0 2. Totals FG 17, FT 9-15, TP 45.
3 pt. -- South Putnam 1 (J. Canary 1), Monrovia 2 (Black 1, Funk 1), Rebounds -- South Putnam 25 (J. Canary 11), Monrovia 21 (Speck 8), Assists -- South Putnam 5 (J. Canary 4), Monrovia 8 (Black 3), Steals -- South Putnam 8 (M. Canary 2, Birt 2, Boetjer 2), Monrovia 12 (Long 4), Blocks -- South Putnam 1 (M. Canary 1), Monrovia 4 (Black 2).
Next game -- South Putnam plays at Cloverdale Friday at 6 p.m.