The rims were closed Thursday at the South Putnam gymnasium, where both South Putnam and Crawfordsville struggled to hit anything, shooting a combined 36 percent from the field.
The game came down to a battle of free throws, which Crawfordsville won. The Athenians got to the line 31 times, while the Eagles only managed 13 free throws in the contest. Crawfordsville pulled away with the 48-39 victory.
South Putnam came out slow from the start, only scoring six points in the first period. Although the Eagles jumped to a 4-1 early lead, the Athenians fired back to outscore South Putnam, 11-2, in the final five minutes of the period, taking a 12-6 lead into the second period.
"I thought we played sluggish," South Putnam Coach Debbie Steffy said.
When Megan Robinson hit a baseline floater early in the second quarter, the Eagles faced a 16-8 deficit. However, four straight Crawfordsville free throws from freshman Mandi Johnson stretched the Athenians' lead to 20-8.
South Putnam outscored Crawfordsville 8-4 in the final three minutes, but went into halftime trailing, 24-17.
Both teams hit seven field goals in the first half. However, Crawfordsville was 9-of-14 from the free throw line, while South Putnam was 2-of-2.
The Eagles came back, looking like a determined team, early in the second half. Jessica Canary took a sweeping right hand through the lane for a layup, drawing a foul and hitting her free throw, and followed with a baseline jumper to bring the game to 26-22.
When Canary stole the ball seconds later, tipped to Dara Booe, who pushed the ball ahead, Canary hit Robinson for a layup to bring the score to 26-24 with 5:22 remaining in the third period.
South Putnam appeared to have some momentum.
"I thought we had spurts where we did a good job," Steffy said.
After Canary hit a free throw with 5:01 remaining in the third period, the Eagles were within one point at 26-25.
However, for the remainder of the game, South Putnam failed to pull any closer.
Crawfordsville went on an 8-0 run to end the third period, Canary got into foul trouble and the Athenians were cruising.
Both teams scored 24 points in the second half, but South Putnam was unable to overcome the early deficit. Crawfordsville's pressure defense gave the Eagles fits in the second half, trapping them in the backcourt and forcing turnovers.
"We had spurts where we just didn't take care of the basketball," Steffy said. "We had unforced turnovers I felt like, throwing the ball out of bounds and traveling when no one is on us."
Canary led all scorers with 18 points in the game, including 13 second-half points. She also had six rebounds, six blocks and five steals in the contest.
Johnson led the Athenians in scoring with 13 points in the game, hitting 7-of-10 free throws.
Crawfordsville went 18-of-31 from the free throw line, while South Putnam was 10-of-13 from the line. Crawfordsville grabbed 25 rebounds in the game, while South Putnam only managed 16 boards in the contest.
The Eagles held the Athenians to just 33 percent shooting from the field. But the Eagles didn't do much better, hitting just 14-of-35 field goals for just 40 percent on the night.
"Give Crawfordsville credit, when they had to play good defense they did," Steffy said. "We didn't have a lot of uncontested shots."
South Putnam plays at Cascade tonight at 6 p.m.
In junior varsity action, Crawfordsville defeated South Putnam, 55-14.
At South Putnam
Crawfordsville 6 9 10 14 -- 39
South Putnam 12 12 10 14 -- 48
Crawfordsville -- Stevens 2-2 5-6 10, Mummert 0-0 2-2 2, Fink 2-3 0-1 4, Page 1-1 0-2 2, Thompson 2-10 3-6 8, Thompson 1-6 0-0 2, Clarke 2-4 1-2 5, Binford 1-4 0-2 2, Johnson 3-12 7-10 13. Totals FG 14-42, FT 18-31, TP 48.
South Putnam -- Robinson 4-8 0-1 8, M. Canary 1-10 4-5 6, J. Canary 7-13 3-3 18, Stanifer 0-2 0-0 0, Birt 1-5 0-0 2, Booe 1-3 3-4 5. Totals FG 14-35, FT 10-13, TP 39.
3pt. -- Crawfordsville 2 (Stevens 1, Thompson 1), South Putnam 1 (J. Canary 1), Rebounds -- South Putnam 16 (J. Canary 6, Booe 6), Crawfordsville 25 (Clarke 7), Assists -- Crawfordsville 7 (Stevens 3), South Putnam 6 (J. Canary 3), Steals -- Crawfordsville 5 (Johnson 3), South Putnam 9 (J. Canary 5), Blocks -- Crawfordsville 3 (Johnson 2), South Putnam 6 (J. Canary 6).
JV -- Crawfordsville defeated South Putnam, 55-14.
Next game -- South Putnam plays at Cascade tonight at 6 p.m.