NEW MARKET -- Saturday night, the South Putnam Eagles boys' basketball team traveled to New Market to play the Southmont Mounties hoping to improve this season's unbeaten streak to four wins.
The Eagles entered the game with confidence after winning the Putnam County Classic last Saturday night in triple overtime over Greencastle.
The Eagles held an early lead, but the more experienced Mounties battled back to hand South Putnam its first loss of the season, 68-48.
South Putnam raced out to a 13-1 lead in the first three minutes of the game on balanced scoring from an unselfish offense that allowed Zach Rhine, Ben Anderson, Matt Hicks, and Greg Chestnut to score at will.
Hicks for was forced to leave the game after receiving his second personal foul with 3:35 left in the period, and the momentum in the game changed from South Putnam to Southmont.
The Eagles were able to score only four more points during the rest of the stanza, by Drew Christy and Anderson, while Southmont's offense scored 14 points, and the period ended in a 17-17 tie.
Southmont changed its defense to a full-court press that caused fits for South Putnam allowing them to score only four points in the second quarter, two free throws by Anthony Tomasino, and a field goal by Hicks.
The Mounties took a 28-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Eagles continued to struggle in the third quarter, as they were limited to five points in the period, a two-point basket by Rhine, and a three-point shot by Chestnut.
Southmont took a 19-point lead into the fourth quarter, but the Eagles caught fire offensively in the final period, scoring 22 points.
Hicks, Chestnut, Rhine, and Marcus McKinney all scored in the final period.
The Eagles closed the Mounties' lead to 12, at 60-48 with 1:25 left to play in the game, but Southmont score the final eight points in the game for the final score of 68-48.
South Putnam was only outscored by one point in the first and fourth quarters, but Southmont outscored the Eagles 28-9 in the second and third quarter.
The Eagles hit 41 percent of their three-point shots and out rebounded the Mounties 28-26, but committed 18 turnovers against Southmont's half and full-court presses, and that turned out to be the difference in the game.
"Our kids had a great first six minutes of the game," commented South Putnam Coach Kyle Brewer after the game. "Things look a lot better when the ball was going into the basket as we hit shots early in the game.
"I have to give Southmont a lot of credit. They gave us a lot of trouble with their full-court pressure. They did a good job of coming off of screens and we had trouble defending against that.
"We didn't do a good job of finishing the end of the first quarter and that was a momentum swing for them. That turned out to be a big factor for them.
"Southmont is a very good, senior dominated team, and they are now 3-1.
"This is our fourth game of the year and we haven't yet come close to playing our best basketball. We were fortunate enough last weekend to win two games and win the County, but I feel we have great strides to make, both offensively and defensively.
"As we go into conference play next weekend, we've got to hit our free throws, do a better job of taking care of the basketball, and a better job of boxing-out on the offensive end of the floor," Brewer said.
South Putnam had two players who scored in double figures, Hicks with 16, Rhine with 11. Chestnut followed with nine, while Anderson chipped in six, McKinney had three, Tomasino had two, and Christy closed out the scoring with one point.
Hicks had a double-double by pulling-down a game-high 15 rebounds. Christy passed for a game-high seven assists.
South Putnam lost the junior varsity game, 35-29.
Connor Frame led the Eagles in scoring with nine points, followed by Adam Hammond with six, Derek Cash with five, Brad Eickoff with four, Michael Sebanc with three, and Tayler Newby added two.
The Eagles (3-1, 0-0 WCC) host WCC rival Speedway Friday night to play in the second game of a West Central Conference girls'-boys' double header. The girls' game begins at 6:00 p.m.
NOTE: The WCC girls', boys' doubleheader games with Cascade that were cancelled Friday night, have been rescheduled for Wednesday, December 21 at Cascade.
South Putnam 17 4 5 22 48
Southmont 17 11 17 23 68
Rhine 4-12 0-0 11, Christy 0-4 1-2 1, McKinney 1-3 0-1 3, Anderson 2-6 0-1 6, Chestnut 3-4 0-0 9, Tomasino 0-4 2-2 2, Hicks 7-15 2-5 16, Cash 0-0 0-0 0, Sebanc 0-0 0-0 0, Hammond 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-48 FG 5-11 FT, 48 TP.
Price 0-0 1-2 1, Rhoads 2-3 2-2 7, Froedge 4-13 0-0 8, Martin 7-10 5-7 19, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Welcher 5-12 4-5 17, Kellie 4-5 0-0 8, Burkett 3-5 2-2 8, Jeffries 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-49 FG 14-18 FT, 68 TP.
3-pt. FG - SP 9-22 (Rhine 3-6, Christy 0-2, McKinney 1-2, Anderson 2-6, Chestnut 3-4, Hicks 0-2), SM 4-12 (Rhoads 1-2, Froedge 0-2, Welcher 3-7, Kellie 0-1). Rebounds - SP 28 (Rhine 1, Christy 2, McKinney 3, Anderson 2, Chestnut 1, Tomasino 4, Hicks 15), SM 26 (Rhoads 3, Froedge 3, Martin 10, Miller 1, Welcher 2, Kellie 3, Burkett 4). Blocks - SP 2 (Christy 1, Tomasino 1), SM 1 (Martin 1). Assists - SP 12 (Christy 7, McKinney 1, Anderson 1, Hicks 3), SM 18 (Price 1, Rhoads 6, Froedge 4, Martin 2, Welcher 3, Kellie 2). Steals - SP 6 (Christy 2, McKinney 2, Anderson 1, Hicks 1), SM 9 (Froedge 1, Martin 3, Welcher 1, Kellie 3, Burkett 1). Total fouls - SP 18, SM 14. Fouled out - none. Turnovers - SP 18, SM 11.
JV -- Southmont defeated South Putnam 35-29.
Next game - The Eagles (3-1, 0-0 WCC) host WCC rival Speedway Friday night to play in the second game of a West Central Conference girls'-boys' double header. The girls' game begins at 6:00 p.m. Note: The WCC girls'-boys' double header games with Cascade that were cancelled Friday night, have been rescheduled for Wednesday, December 21 at Cascade.