ROCKVILLE -- Playing intense defense and maintaining composure under while trailing by 11 points in the second half, the South Putnam Eagles rallied to open the high school girls basketball season with a 48-39 overtime victory Tuesday night over the host Rockville Rox.
South Putnam trailed 27-16 with 2:32 left in the third quarter, but rallied behind Meghan Canary, Leah Butts, Oceia Boetjer, Baily Birt and Sam Stanifer to tie the score 38-38 at the end of regulation play.
"To get it into overtime, we just played smart. We picked up the press, caused them some turnovers, got ourselves back in it (and) in overtime our kids just took over," South Putnam coach Debbie Steffy said.
"The people who played last year, but didn't have to contribute did some good things for us tonight, which is a positive for us."
Butts hit a free throw to put South ahead for good at the 3:36 mark of the five-minute overtime period.
Boetjer put back a rebound and Butts scored inside again giving the Eagles a 43-38 lead with 2:42 to play.
Free throws by Bailly Birt and Boetjer put sealed the deal for the Eagles.
Canary, taking the ball inside the lane, led South Putnam with 27, followed by Leah Butts with nine.
Rockville, in foul trouble most of the night, was led by Chelsie Stout with 16 points and Kieran McMullen with 13, including three 3-point field goals.
South Putnam got a huge lift Butts and Boetjer off the bench.
Each had 10 rebounds and Boetjer came up with four steals.
"(Butts) was a horse underneath (the basket). (Rockville) didn't have an answer for her. At that point in time (Mollie) Burgess was in foul trouble, so she couldn't get down there and bang with (Butts). Leah was just able to carve out some space and be able to get some rebounds and some put backs," Steffy said.
South Putnam gained confidence throughout the contest.
The Eagles were tentative on offense through the first half, hitting just 3-of-22 shots from the floor while committing nine turnovers.
Rockville led 9-6 at the first stop and 17-12 at halftime.
"We had people who wouldn't take the ball to the basket. They were very, very tentative. We talked about it and talked about and I think they finally saw in the second half, 'I can do this. I can get a shot off.
Canary, who had 10 of South's 12 points in the first half, opened the third quarter with a strong move to the bucket.
Rockville led 30-22 going into the fourth quarter, but South Putnam went on a 12-4 run to the score 34-34 Stanifer drove the baseline for two points with 1:23 left in regulation play.
Both teams had chances to win the game in regulation play at the free throw line, but could not convert, sending the game into overtime.
South Putnam (48) -- Robinson 1-4 2-7 4, Birt 0-6 1-6 1, Searles 0-7 0-2 0 0, Canary 8-16 10-24 27, Stanifer 1-4 2-3 4, Boetjer 1-14 1-2 3, Butts 4-7 1-3 9. Totals 15-58 FG, 17-37 FT, 48 TP.
Rockville (39) -- McMullen 4-12 2-2 13, K. Burgess 3-9 0-0 6, M. Burgess 0-1 0-0 0, Scott 4-13 8-11 16, Flaurr 1-6 1-2 3, Camerer 0-0 0-0 0, Vukovits 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 0-2 0-0 0, Bassett 0-2 1-2 1, Harper 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 12-46 FG, 12-17 FT, 39 TP.
South Putnam 6 6 10 16 10 -- 48
Rockville 9 8 13 8 1 -- 39
3Pt. shooting -- South Putnam 1-2 (Canary 1-2), Rockville 3-13 (McMullen 3-6, Scott 0-4, Flaurr 0-1, Brown 0-1, Harper 0-1). Total fouls -- SP 16, R25. Fouled out -- McMullen, K. Burgess. Rebounds -- SP 43 (Boetjer, Butts 10), R 43 (K. Burgess). Turnovers -- SP 16, R 24. Steals -- SP 18 (Canary 4, Robinson 4, Boetjer 4), R 5 (McMullen 2).
JV game -- Rockville 20, South Putnam 15.
Next game -- South Putnam (1-0) travels to Edgewood on Friday and Rockville plays Riverton Parke in the Banks of the Wabash Tournament at Riverton Parke High School.