Tuesday night, the South Putnam Eagles girls' basketball team hosted a tenacious Clay City Eels team, which entered the game with an 8-11 season record, but were playing their best basketball of the year.
Seniors Jessica Canary, Dara Booe, and manager Mary Martin were participating in their last home game at the South Putnam gym.
Additionally, a win by the Eagles would give South Putnam coach Debbie Steffy her 100th career win.
In an evenly matched game that saw 13 lead changes and seven ties, the Eagles earned their 14th win of the season by defeating the Eels, 39-35.
The game opened with both teams playing well on both ends of the floor.
Both teams traded baskets throughout the quarter with all five Eagle starters -- Jessica Canary, Liz Mink, Dara Booe, Meghan Canary, and Bailey Birt -- each scoring a two-point basket in the stanza to give their team a 10-9 lead with 1:22 left in the period.
However, a shot with two seconds left in the quarter by the Eels gave Clay City an 11-10 lead going into the second quarter.
The Eagles' offense was as equally balanced in the second as it had been in the first quarter as Megan Robinson joined Meghan Canary, Birt, and Booe in the scoring column in the period.
Clay City entered the locker room at halftime with a narrow 21-19 lead.
The competition in third quarter was exactly the same as the prior two and ended in a 30-30 tie.
The game was tied for the final time of the night at 35-35 with 5:11 to play, then South Putnam's defense completely shutdown Clay City's offense for the rest of the game.
The Canary sisters scored the final points of the game, the final two being a free throw by each of them in the final 21.6 seconds of the game to seal the victory for South Putnam.
The Eagles won the game by using a solid defense that forced the Eels to commit 20 turnovers and South Putnam was able to gather 11 steals of Clay City's passes, and by playing with great composure during the final minutes of the game.
"Clay City is really playing well right now," commented coach Steffy after the game.
"Their record now is 8-12 and they are a lot better than their record shows. Their
opponents in the Sectionals had better watch out."
"It was a good game for us as far as keeping our composure. We did not lose our composure at end of the game when we got the lead and we got the rebound. We came down, we ran offense, we got the ball in the person's hands that we needed it in, we shot free throws, we hit free throws, and it was things like that. I thought it was a good game for us in that respect," Steffy added.
South Putnam had only one player who scored in double figures. Meghan Canary, the
leading scorer of the game with 19.
Jessica Canary followed with seven, Birt and Mink scored four each, Booe added three and Robinson closed-out the Eagle scoring with two points.
Booe pulled-down eight rebounds, and Jessica Canary and Birt had six each.
Jessica Canary passed for a game-high four assists and she and Meghan Canary both had game-high steals each.
Jessica Canary also had the only blocked shot of the game for the Eagles.
South Putnam lost the junior varsity game, 11-57.
Leeah Butts led the Eagles in scoring with six points, followed by Danielle McHugh with three, and Ashley Franklin added two.
The Eagles (14-5, 4-1 WCC) travel to North Putnam Friday night to play the Cougars in the final game of the regular season. The game is the opener of a WCC girls / boys double-header. The game begins at 6 p.m.
At South Putnam
South Putnam (14-5, 4-1 WCC)
Robinson 1-1 0-0 2, Meghan Canary 8-15 2-6 19, Jessica Canary 3-9 1-2 7, Birt 1-8 2-6 4, Boetjer 0-1 0-0 0, Booe 1-6 1-2 3, Searles 0-0 0-0 0, Mink 2-4 0-1 4. Totals 16-44 FG 6-17 FT, 39 TP.
Clay City (8-12)
McWilliams 6-18 0-0 16, Collins 0-3 0-0 0, Gerber 1-1 0-0 2, Steiner 0-1 0-0 0, Camp 0-2 0-0 0, Riggs 0-0 2-2 2, Tyler 1-1 0-0 2, Kennedy 6-12 1-2 13. Totals 14-38 FG, 3-4, FT, 35 TP.
3-pt. FG - SP 1-4 (Meghan Canary 1-3, Birt 0-1), CC 4-13 (McWilliams 4-11, Steiner 0-1, Kennedy 0-1). Rebounds - SP 25 (Robinson 1, Meghan Canary 1, Jessica Canary 6, Birt 6, Booe 8, Mink 3), CC 26 (McWilliams 5, Collins 1, Gerber 1, Camp 4, Riggs 3, Tyler 1, Kennedy 11). Blocks - SP 1 (Jessica Canary 1), CC 1 (Kennedy 1). Assists - SP 6 (Meghan Canary 2, Jessica Canary 4), CC 11 (McWilliams 3, Collins 4, Gerber 2, Steiner 1, Camp 1). Steals - SP 11 (Meghan Canary 4, Jessica Canary 4, Boetjer 1, Booe 2), CC 5 (McWilliams 4, Camp 1). Total fouls - SP 6, CC 20. Fouled out - none. Turnovers - SP 12, CC 20.
Next game - The Eagles (14-5, 4-1 WCC) travel to North Putnam Friday night to play the Cougars in the final game of the regular season. The game is the opener of a WCC girls / boys double-header. The game begins at 6 p.m.