Saturday, the South Putnam Eagles girls' varsity basketball team battled a very determined and talented Shakamak team in the championship game to win the Holiday Classic, 44-37.
South Putnam defeated the North Vermillion Falcons in the opening game in the first round of the tournament Saturday morning, 43-29, then the Shakamak Lakers defeated the Clay City Eels on the second game of the first round, 57-44, to advance to the championship game against the Eagles.
The Clay City Eels had defeated the North Vermillion Falcons in the tourney's consolation game earlier in the afternoon, 69-37.
In the championship game, the Eagles opened strong, leading 14-9 at the end of the first quarter over the Lakers by using a balanced offense that allowed Bailey Birt, Megan Robinson, Sam Stanifer, C J Searles, Oceaia Boetjer, and Leeah Butts to score in the stanza.
South Putnam continued to consistently lead Shakamak by about the same margin throughout the second quarter, and Meghan Canary hit a three-point shot at the buzzer off of a pass by Boetjer, to give the Eagles a 22-15 lead going into the locker room at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Lakers began to chip away at South Putnam's lead, eventually tying the game at 29 with :29 showing on the clock.
The game went back and forth in the final quarter with the lead changing hands several times, until the Eagles started to pull away from the Lakers during the final four minutes of the game as Birt, Canary, and Robinson were able to hit big buckets and free throws down the stretch to secure the championship for South Putnam.
The Eagles won the championship game by hitting a better percentage from the floor than Lakers, and by outrebounding Shakamak, 33-29.
"I thought all four games during the whole day were very competitive games," commented South Putnam coach Debbie Steffy after the game."We had four good games of basketball. No one came in and got overpowered. I thought all four teams came in and did a nice job.
"I thought our girls played hard in both the first game and the second game. I thought in the first half of the first game, we were a little sluggish, but in the second half, we came out and did the little things right like blocking out and taking the ball to the basket to score."
South Putnam boasted two players who scored in double figures, as Birt finished with 14 and Canary scored 10.
Robinson followed with nine, Stanifer scored four, Searles added three and Boetjer and Butts closed out the Eagle scoring with two points each.
Canary pulled down 11 rebounds, Searles had eight, and Boetjer had five boards.
Robinson had a game-high three steals.
In the consolation game, Emily Reed led Clay City with 15 points, followed by Sarah Kennedy with 14, Angie Camp with 11, Mardi Steiner with 10, Shelby Targett with eight, Britney Glass with five, Kelly McCullough with four, and Lydia Farmer added two.
Kelly Yoho led North Vermillion with 12 points, Amber Shell and Hillary Lively added six each, Derryn Axtell scored five, Emily Yoho and Kandrea Craft had three each, and Shelby Porter scored two points for the Falcons.
Meghan Canary and Bailey Birt of South Putnam, Casey Fougerousse and Jessica Gilbert of Shakamak, and Sarah Kennedy of Clay City, were selected to the All Tournament Team.
The Eagles host the Eminence Eels Thursday night. The junior varsity game begins at 6 pm.
At South Putnam
Eagles' Holiday Tournament
South Putnam 14 8 7 15 - 44
Shakamak 9 6 14 8 - 37
South Putnam (44) -- Canary 3-10 3-6 10, Robinson 3-4 3-6 9, Stanifer 1-2 2-2 4, Birt 3-13 6-7 14, Boetjer 1-5 0-1 2, Searles 1-5 1-2 3, Butts 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 13-43 FG 15-24 FT, 44 TP.
Shakamak (37) --Fougerousse 2-11 2-4 6, Vash 0-1 0-0 0, Hudson 0-2 0-0 0, Ashcraft 1-4 3-3 6, Crosby 0-1 0-0 0, Gilbert 5-14 6-8 16, Pearson 0-4 0-0 0, Collins 4-12 0-0 9. Totals 12-49 FG, 11-15 FT, 37 TP.
3-pt. FG -- SP 3-9 (Canary 1-2, Birt 2-4, Boetjer 0-3), S 2-16 (Fougerousse 0-6, Vash 0-1, Ashcraft 1-3, Collins 1-6). Rebounds -- SP 33 (Canary 11, Robinson 3, Stanifer 1, Birt 3, Boetjer 5, Searles 8, Butts 2), S 28 (Fougerousse 3, Vash 3, Hudson 3, Crosby 4, Gilbert 8, Pearson 1, Collins 6). Blocks -- SP 2 (Birt 1, Boetjer 1), S 1 (Fougerousse 1). Assists -- SP 4 (Canary 2, Boetjer 1, Searles 1), S 6 (Fougerousse 1, Vash 1, Hudson 2, Gilbert 1, Pearson 1). Steals -- SP 8 (Robinson 3, Stanifer 1, Boetjer 2, Searles 1, Butts 1), S 9 (Fougerousse 2, Vash 1, Hudson 1, Ashcraft 2, Gilbert 1, Collins 2). Total fouls -- SP 11, S 20. Fouled out -- Hudson. Turnovers -- SP 18, S 16.
Next game -- The Eagles host the Eminence Eels Thursday night. The junior varsity game begins at 6 pm.