On Friday, the South Putnam Eagles boys' basketball team hosted powerhouse Owen Valley. The Patriots entered the game ranked 13th in the Class 3A AP polls. South Putnam was also celebrating its Winter Homecoming.
Owen Valley, a high school with an enrollment of 996 versus the Eagles' 458, entered the game with a 16-4 season record.
Also, Owen Valley's team possessed three big men, 6-foot-5 Nick Madison, 6-foot-3 Shawn Madorin, and 6-foot-2 Ben Nanny.
The tallest Eagle players were 6-foot-1 center Matt Hicks and 6-foot-2 reserve Derek Cash.
Additionally, South Putnam senior guard Drew Christy was unable to play in the game due to illness.
South Putnam had a good game plan, playing a tenacious defense that limited the Patriots to only six points in the first quarter.
The Eagles only trailed Owen Valley by seven points at halftime, at 22-15, but the Patriots outscored South Putnam 31-21 in the second half, to spoil the Eagles' Homecoming, 53-36.
South Putnam played a solid game against the 13th ranked Owen Valley, out-rebounding the taller Patriots, 34-33, with 17 of those boards coming off of the offensive glass, and the Eagles' offense dished out 10 assists, but Owen Valley's height advantage inside and the quickness of its guards outside caused shooting problems for South Putnam.
As a team, South Putnam was limited to 23 percent shooting from the floor.
That turned out to be the difference in the game.
"We had a good physical effort from our kids," commented South Putnam coach Kyle Brewer after the game. "We thought our kids played really good defense and took away some things they wanted to do.
"Owen Valley's Harry Marshall and Jared Maners are two of the best guards that we have played against all year. I thought that although we were playing without Drew Christy, we had two guys who really stepped-up to fill that void from a defensive standpoint.
"I felt like things that really hurt us in tonight's game were the number of easy buckets around the basket that we missed and the number of free throws that we missed. Going into the Sectional, and if we are going to win our Sectional, we are going to have to shoot better from the free throw line and we are going to have to make sure we hit our lay ups and our bunnies. Offensively, the kids were trying to get the ball into the post and we were getting some inside-out looks. I don't know what our shooting percentage was, but I don't remember too many bad shots that were taken during the game."
"I really feel like our kids' efforts on the floor in the last two games have been very good and I feel like some our seniors, like Matt Hicks, are becoming more vocal leaders for us. I thought Matt did a nice job of that with our guys tonight.
"We've got one more week here and we find out Sunday who we play in the tournament and we will start preparing next week, getting ready for that.
"I really like being around our guys right now and even though we've lost two in a row here, they are giving me good physical and mental effort which is all I can ask for," Brewer said.
South Putnam had only one player who scored in double figures, in Hicks' 16.
Greg Chestnut followed with six, while Marcus McKinney had five, and Zach Rhine added four, Anthony Tomasino chipped in three, and Ben Anderson closed out the Eagle scoring with two points.
Hicks had a double-double by pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds, and Tomasino was the second leading rebounder in the game with nine caroms. McKinney, Anderson, Chestnut, and Hicks passed for two assists each.
Owen Valley also had only one player scoring in double figures, Harry Marshall with 14.
South Putnam lost the junior varsity game, 64-44.
Conor Frame led the Eagles in scoring with 15 points, followed by Brad Eickoff with 10, Noah Boswell had six, Derek Cash added five and Michael Sebanc and Derek Tomaw had three each and Tyler Newby added two.
The Eagles (9-10, 2-4 WCC) host Edgewood next Friday night, the 24th, in the final regular season game before the Sectionals begin. The junior varsity game begins at 6 p.m.
At South Putnam
South Putnam 4 11 12 9 -- 36
Owen Valley 6 16 21 10 -- 53
South Putnam (9-10, 2-4 WCC) -- Rhine 1-6 1-3 4, McKinney 2-6 0-0 5, Anderson 1-2 0-0 2, Chestnut 2-9 0-0 6, Tomasino 1-6 1-6 3, Hicks 5-24 5-6 16, Cash 0-0 0-0 0, Sebanc 0-0 0-0 0, Tomaw 0-0 0-0 0, Frame 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-53 FG 7-15 FT, 36 TP.
Owen Valley (17-4, 4-2 WIC) -- Temples 3-7 0-0 7, Maners 4-14 0-0 8, Antonio Marshall 1-2 0-0 2, Figg 1-1 0-0 3, Harry Marshall 7-10 0-0 14, Mortimer 1-3 0-0 3, Madorin 1-1 0-3 2, Nanny 3-6 0-0 6, Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Madison 4-8 0-0 8. Totals 25-52 FG, 0-3 FT, 53 TP.
3-pt. FG - SP 5-17 (Rhine 1-2, McKinney 1-2, Chestnut 2-8, Hicks 1-5), OV 3-12 (Temples 1-4, Maners 0-3, Antonio Marshall 0-1, Figg 1-1, Mortimer 1-2, Nanny 0-1). Rebounds - SP 34 (Rhine 4, McKinney 3, Anderson 1, Chestnut 2, Tomasino 9, Hicks 12, Cash 3), OV 33 (Maners 9, Harry Marshall 5, Mortimer 1, Madorin 4, Nanny 6, Jones 1, Madison 7). Blocks - SP 2 (Hicks 2), OV 7 (Maners 1, Madorin 3, Nanny 1, Madison 2). Assists - SP 10 (Rhine 1, McKinney 2, Anderson 2, Chestnut 2, Tomasino 1, Hicks 2), OV 13 (Maners 5, Antonio Marshall 1, Harry Marshall 4, Nanny 2, Madison 1). Steals - SP 1 (Anderson 1), OV 9 (Temples 3, Maners 3, Harry Marshall 1, Madorin 1, Nanny 1). Total fouls - SP 11, OV 13. Fouled out - none. Turnovers - SP 13, OV 10.
Junior Varsity -- South Putnam lost, 64-44.
Next game -- The Eagles (9-10, 2-4 WCC) host Edgewood next Friday night, the 24th, in the final regular season game before the Sectionals begin. The junior varsity game begins at 6 p.m.