Thursday night, the South Putnam Eagles boys' basketball team opened the 2005 Eagle Holiday Classic against the Eminence Eels as both teams entered the game with nearly identical records, South Putnam at 3-3 and Eminence at 3-4.
After falling behind in the first quarter, South Putnam rallied to defeat the Eels, 64-52, to enter the championship game of the tournament against Cascade.
Eminence jumped out to a 6-0 lead at the start of the game, before the Eagles got onto the scoreboard at the 5:30 mark in the quarter on a two-point basket by Ben Anderson off an assist by Greg Chestnut.
Chestnut, Matt Hicks, and Drew Christy began scoring at that point, but the first stanza ended with Eminence leading 16-12.
South Putnam's offense and defense clicked in the second quarter, as the Eagles scored 21 points and limited Eminence to six points.
Hicks scored seven points, and Christy and Chestnut scored six points each during the quarter from six assists by Zach Rhine, Hicks, and four by Christy.
The Eagles entered the locker room at half time, after taking control of the game and by committing only two turnovers up to that point, leading 33-22.
The Eels came out of the locker room on fire, closing the South Putnam lead to four points three different times in the third quarter. However, Chestnut hit a key three-point shot off an assist by Rhine and Tomasino hit a two-point shot at the buzzer to give their team momentum at the final break.
The Eagles held the ball for the final 45 seconds of the quarter to lead 47-38 going into the final quarter.
Balanced scoring by the Eagles in the fourth quarter by Hicks, Tomasino, Christy, Ben Anderson, and Hicks provided the strength for South Putnam's win, earning a spot in the championship game.
South Putnam outscored Eminence, 31-30, in the second half, leading 47-38 at the end of the third quarter, and at the final buzzer.
The Eagles won the game by hitting 6-14, 43 percent of their three-point shots and by out rebounding the Eels, 33-20, 12 of which were on the offensive end of the floor.
"I felt like there were some stretches in this game where we did some real positive things, and there were some stretches where it looked like we hadn't played in a week and we had some time off," commented South Putnam coach Kyle Brewer after the game. I don't want to take anything away from Eminence. I felt like they did a real nice job, especially Moss and Stinson of getting the ball into the paint and forcing us to make defensive rotations. They were finding the open guy and we are going to have to do a better job of defending dribble penetration tomorrow night by either team that we might play if we are going to win this tournament.
"I feel like we have to do a better job within our group of recognizing situations from the stand point of knowing the score and knowing the time. Sometimes tonight we got real rushed offensively when we didn't need to be rushed. There were times that we did a real nice job.
"At the end of the third quarter, we did a real nice job of finishing the quarter, holding the ball for 45 seconds and held it for the last shot against their zone. We didn't score the way we drew it up, but the ball snuck through there to Tomasino and he finished the play.
"It's good to get back on the winning side of things and hopefully we can learn some things from the film tonight and hopefully have an opportunity tomorrow night to maybe play a team that we've all ready played and has beaten us," Brewer added.
South Putnam had three players who scored in double figures, Hicks with 17, Chestnut with 16, and Christy with 14. Tomasino followed with seven, Anderson chipped-in six, and Rhine closed-out the scoring with four points.
Hicks had a double-double by pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds.
Christy passed for a game-high six assists and Tomasino had a game-high two steals.
Bobby Stinson led Eminence in scoring with 20 points, followed by Aaron Moss with 12, Brian Whaley and Tyler Adkisson with eight each, Elliott Lockwood with three, and Dustin Brown added one.
Cascade defeated North Vermillion in the other first-round game, 61-48.
Jake Daugherty led Cascade in scoring with 14 points, followed by Brad Suter with 12, Kevin Pusateri with 10, A.J. Austin with eight, Kyle Foster with six, Jason Mink and Michael Galyan with four each, and Tom Lovvorn added three.
Brent Hicks led North Vermillion in scoring with 14 points, followed by Tyler Johnson with 1, Robert Harrison with 10, Sean Weir with seven, Shaun Heavilin with four, and Ryan Buchhaas added two.
The Eagles (4-3, 0-2 WCC) play WCC rival Cascade tonight (Friday) in the championship game of the Eagle Holiday Classic, following the conclusion of the consolation game between Eminence and North Vermillion, which begins at 6 p.m.
At The South Putnam Eagles' Holiday Classic
South Putnam (4-3, 0-2 WCC)
Rhine 2-6 0-0 4, Christy 5-7 3-3 14, Anderson 2-7 1-5 6, Chestnut 6-10 1-2 16, Tomasino 3-5 1-2 7, Hicks 6-15 4-6 17. Totals 24-50 FG 10-18 FT, 64 TP.
Moss 6-11 0-1 12, Whaley 3-11 2-2 8, Lockwood 1-3 0-0 3, Adkisson 4-6 0-0 8, Greiner 0-0 0-0 0, Catt 0-4 0-0 0, Brown 0-2 1-2 1, Stinson 8-11 4-4 20. Totals 22-48 FG 7-9 FT, 52 TP.
3-pt. FG - SP 6-14 (Rhine 0-1, Christy 1-2, Anderson 1-4, Chestnut 3-5, Hicks 1-2), E 1-8 (Whaley 0-3, Lockwood 1-2, Adkisson 0-2, Brown 0-1). Rebounds - SP 33 (Rhine 1, Christy 6, Anderson 2, Chestnut 7, Tomasino 5, Hicks 12), E 20 (Moss 3, Whaley 2, Adkisson 1, Greiner 1, Catt 1, Brown 2, Stinson 10). Blocks - SP 2 (Christy 1, Tomasino 1), E 4 (Adkisson 4). Assists - SP 16 (Rhine 2, Christy 6, Anderson 3, Chestnut 3, Hicks 2), E 12 (Whaley 3, Lockwood 2, Adkisson 4, Catt 1, Stinson 2). Steals - SP 5 (Rhine 1, Chestnut 1, Tomasino 2, Hicks 1), E 5 (Moss 2, Adkisson 1, Stinson 2). Total fouls - SP 12, E 19. Fouled out - Moss. Turnovers - SP 11, E 13.
Next game - The Eagles (4-3, 0-2 WCC) play WCC rival Cascade tonight (Friday) in the championship game of the Eagle Holiday Classic, following the conclusion of the consolation game between Eminence and North Vermillion, which begins at 6 p.m.