Friday night, the South Putnam Eagles boys' basketball team played the Cascade Cadets in the first game of the semifinals of the Class 2A Sectional 45 tournament hosted by South Putnam,.
The teams had faced each other two previous times this season, with Cascade winning both games, 59-51 on December 21 at Cascade, and 52-41 nine days later in the championship game of the Eagle Holiday Classic.
South Putnam played a scrappy game against the Cadets, matching Cascade in nearly every statistical category of the game, except the most important one: field goal shooting.
The Eagles shot 35 percent from the floor, while the Cadets shot 60 percent.
In doing so, Cascade ended the season for South Putnam, 59-47.
Both teams opened the game playing well on the offensive end of the floor.
Cascade scored the first four points of the game before South Putnam's Matt Hicks hit a three-point shot at the 6:15 mark in the first quarter.
From that point in the stanza, Ben Anderson, Greg Chestnut, and Hicks matched every Cascade basket to help the Eagles to only trail by three points at the first stop, 18-15.
The second quarter was different story as Cascade outscored South Putnam in the period, 13-7, as the shooting turned cold for the Eagles.
Hicks was the only Eagle who was able to score in the second quarter, as South Putnam only hit two-of-eight shots from the floor in the stanza.
Cascade took a 31-22 lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Cadets were able to stretch their lead to 14 points, outscoring the Eagles 14-9 during the period.
Chestnut, Hicks, Anthony Tomasino, and Drew Christy were able to score for South Putnam in the third quarter, but as a team, the Eagles were only able to hit 3-of-10 shots from the floor.
Trailing 45-31 going into the fourth quarter, South Putnam was not yet ready to concede defeat to Cascade.
The Eagles battled back on both ends of the floor in the final period of the game, outscoring the Cadets, 16-14, during the quarter.
Hicks, Anderson, and Chestnut were able to chip away at the Cadet lead, closing it to nine points twice in the quarter, the final time with 1:40 left in the game, but Cascade was able to hit free throws in the final 31.6 seconds of the game to end South Putnam's season and advance to the Championship game of the Sectional Saturday night to play Tri-West at 7:30 p.m.
South Putnam outshot Cascade from the free throw line, shooting 54 percent versus 36 percent for the Cadets.
The Eagles also outrebounded the Cadets, had more steals, and more blocked shots than Cascade, but South Putnam could not overcome the field goal shooting deficit.
That turned out to be the difference in the game.
"We knew going into the game that Cascade was a really good team," South Putnam Coach Kyle Brewer said after the game."We knew that if we got behind, it would be really hard to battle back against them.
"Early on, Cascade shot the ball very well and any time that you play a team that shoots 60 percent from the floor, that puts a lot of pressure on your offense.
"I'm very proud of our kids in terms of their effort both physically and mentally. We've got six Seniors who played their last basketball game tonight and they have done a lot for our program. Matt Hicks, Drew Christy, Marcus McKinney, Zach Rhine, Anthony Tomasino, and Greg Chestnut all played, and gave it their all. We just ran out of time," Brewer said.
South Putnam had two players who scored in double figures. Hicks, the leading scorer of the game with 29, and Chestnut with 11.
Anderson followed with eight, and Christy and Tomasino closed out the Eagle scoring with one point each.
Christy was the leading rebounder for South Putnam, pulling down nine boards, and Hicks was the second leading rebounder seven.
Christy and Anderson passed for three assists each, Hicks had two, and Marcus McKinney dished out one.
Christy had a game-high four steals, Hicks had three, Anderson had two, and McKinney added one.
At South Putnam
South Putnam (10-12, 2-4 WCC)
Rhine 0-2 0-0 0, Christy 0-9 1-2 1, McKinney 0-0 0-0 0, Anderson 2-2 1-2 5, Chestnut 4-12 0-0 11, Tomasino 0-2 1-2 1, Hicks 11-22 4-7 29. Totals 17-49 FG, 7-13 FT, 47 TP.
Cascade (11-10, 5-1 WCC)
Lovvorn 0-0 0-0 0, Daugherty 3-7 0-1 8, Mink 1-1 0-0 2, Suter 3-6 1-2 9, Pusateri 8-12 0-0 16, Galyan 0-0 0-0 0, Foster 4-5 2-6 10, Austin 6-11 2-5 14. Totals 25-42 FG, 5-14 FT, 59 TP.
3-pt. FG - SP 6-25 (Rhine 0-1, Christy 0-5, Chestnut 3-11, Hicks 3-8), C 4-6 (Daugherty 2-4, Suter 2-2). Rebounds - SP 27 (Christy 9, McKinney 3, Anderson 1, Chestnut 3, Tomasino 4, Hicks 7), C 26 (Daugherty 2, Mink 1, Suter 2, Pusateri 9, Foster 10, Austin 2). Blocks - SP 3 (Rhine 1, Christy 1, Hicks 1), C 1 (Pusateri 1). Assists - SP 10 (Christy 4, McKinney 1, Anderson 2, Hicks 3), C 14 (Daugherty 1, Suter 6, Pusateri 2, Foster 2, Austin 3). Steals - SP 10 (Christy 4, McKinney 1, Anderson 2, Hicks 3), C 6 (Suter 2, Pusateri 1, Foster 3). Total fouls - SP 14, C 16. Fouled out - none. Turnovers - SP 13, C 13.