MARSHALL - In his first game starting for the South Putnam boys' varsity basketball team, senior guard Zach Rhine displayed hot shooting and confidence on the court.
Scoring 15 points for the Eagles on 7-of-9 from the field, Rhine led South Putnam to a 54-43 victory at Turkey Run Wednesday.
"Anytime you can get your first win on the road, it's a positive thing," Brewer said. "We're excited about that."
Rhine, along with fellow senior Matt Hicks, shined throughout the contest. As Hicks battled down, drawing double teams, Rhine was constantly being left alone around the perimeter to knock down shots.
"I wasn't surprised with his offensive performance," South Putnam Coach Kyle Brewer said of Rhine. "I thought last year he provided a lot of leadership for our JV team last year. He's stepping into that role that we've prepared him for."
Hicks had 15 points and seven rebounds in the game, while Drew Christy added eight points for the Eagles.
The first consisted of a series of runs from each team. South Putnam looked sharp to start, jumping to a 7-1 lead, before Turkey Run scored seven unanswered points to take its first lead. The game was tied at 10 points each, going into the second quarter.
In the second period, the Eagles tried to speed things up, running a full court defensive press that forced the Warriors' to make tough decisions, creating five turnovers in the period. In particular, South Putnam started to turn up the heat late in the period.
Marcus McKinney hit Rhine for an easy bucket with just over a minute remaining, giving South Putnam a 20-17 lead. With just seconds remaining, Christy stripped Turkey Run point guard Joel Scott at mid-court, flipped ahead to Ben Anderson who threw a perfect alley-oop to Rhine for a buzzer-beating bucket to end the half, giving the Eagles a 22-17 lead going into the locker room.
"I thought a big key to the second quarter was our hustle play toward the end of the quarter," Brewer said. "That kind of gave us a lift going into halftime."
The Eagles continued their run in the second half going on a 7-0 run in the first three minutes of the third quarter, extending their lead to 29-17. The run was part of an 11-0 run that started with just under two minutes remaining in the first half.
"There were times where we did a really job nice of recognizing their changes on the floor," Brewer said. "Early in the season, I feel like that's a real positive thing for us."
In particular, Hicks became more effective in the second half, scoring nine of his 15 points. The Warriors switched to a 1-3-1 zone, which opened up Hicks for more opportunities in the middle of the floor.
"I thought our guards were doing a good job, making sure the ball touched the middle of the floor in Hicks' hands," Brewer said. "With the ball in Hicks' hands, I like our chances of being successful."
The final quarter saw run-and-gun type basketball as the Warriors fought for more possessions. The Eagles didn't back down, running fast breaks and taking shots when open from the field, outscoring the Warriors 22-19 in the final stanza.
The Eagles shot 19-for-43 from the field, including a sharp 6-for-11 from three-point range, while the Warriors shot 15-34, but only 4-for-14 from three.
Scott led Turkey Run in scoring with 17 points, while junior Justin Davies added 16 points for the Warriors.
In junior varsity action, the Eagles defeated the Warriors, 31-30.
South Putnam's next game is Friday against Cloverdale in the first round of the Putnam County Tournament.
"Tonight, we're going to enjoy this game and go enjoy Thanksgiving with our families," Brewer said. "We're going to get back to work on Saturday and take a look at Cloverdale and approach things from there."
At Turkey Run
South Putnam - 10 12 10 22 - 54
Turkey Run -- 10 7 7 19 - 43
South Putnam - Hicks 5-14 4-7 15, Christy 2-5 2-2 8, Chestnut 1-2 0-0 3, Tomasino 1-3 0-0, 2, Anderson 2-6 2-2 6, Rhine 7-9 0-0 15, McKinney 1-4 2-2 5. Totals FG 19-43, FT 10-13, TP 54.
Turkey Run - Newmun 0-2 1-1, Davies 5-14 3-4 16, Paxton 3-6 1-2 7, Coddington 1-1 0-0 2, Scott 7-10 2-3 17, Smith 0-2 0-0 0. Totals FG 15-34, FT 7-10, TP 43.
3-pt FG - South Putnam 6 (Christy 2), Turkey Run 4 (Davies 3), Rebounds - South Putnam 16 (Hicks 7), Turkey Run 17 (Paxton 6), Assists - South Putnam (Anderson 4) 14, Turkey Run 10 (Scott 4), Steals - South Putnam 11 (Anderson 3), Turkey Run 5 (Coddington 2).