ROCKVILLE --As the South Putnam Eagles boys' basketball team was preparing to play the Rockville Rox on the road Friday night, the SPHS faithful were hoping that its team would be playing its best ball.
But on this night they would come up a little short as the Rox handed the Eagles a loss, 48-36.
It was a hard-fought game by both teams, where defense was the word of the night as the advantage swung back and forth throughout all four quarters.
As the game opened up in the first period, Rockville, behind the cheering of its home fans, controlled the opening period with scoring by five different Rox players. It was close early in the period until Matt King drilled a shot from behind the arc to get the team on a roll, scoring 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from inside the arc and 1-of-5 from outside the arc. South Putnam's Ben Anderson answered with a three of his own in the first period, but the defense of Rockville kept them to 3-of-7 from inside the arc and 1-of-2 outside the arc.
As the second period got underway it was clear that South was getting it going as the Eagles started intensifying their defense as well, causing a lot of problems for the Rox. With 4:49 to go in the second a blocked shot by South's Derek Cash caused bodies to hit the floor for both teams to get control of the ball. After the Mayhem was over, it was South Putnam with the ball, and two minutes later South Putnam took its first lead of the game at 20-18. A steal on the next Rockville possession led to a lay-up by Conor Frame, and South was up 22-18 and in full control of the game.
South would score two more before it was done. Rockville opted to try to hold the ball for the last 53 seconds of the half to take the last shot. With time running out Matt King would launch a three that came up short and South Putnam went into the locker room with a 24-18 lead.
As the third period got under way, Rockville's defense came back to life as it started pressing South hard, causing the Eagles to struggle and turn the ball over numerous times. Rockville would start its own scoring comeback led by Josh Reed, who nailed a pair of threes in the quarter and on his second pulling the Rox to within one point at 28-27.
A couple more turnovers and a two from Robert Clevenger at the 1:18 mark put Rockville back on top, 33-30. Two free throws by South's Adam Nees kept them close but would end the half down one point, 33-32
As the fourth period started, Rockville turned up the defensive heat even more, smothering the Eagles and holding them to only four points in the period. Rockville's RJ Mahurin put in seven of the 15 points scored in the fourth by the Rox as Rockville handed South Putnam the loss.
In the junior varsity contest, SPHS emerged with a 39-38 win.
The Eagles will be in action again Friday at Greencastle starting at 7:30 p.m.
Rockville 48, South Putnam 36
South Putnam-- Ben Parker (12), Ben Anderson (9), Derek Cash (6), Adam Nees (5), Conor Frame (4).
Rockville -- RJ Mahurin (17), Matt King (12), Josh Reed (9), Aaron Bridge (6), Robert Clevenger (2), Daniel Vauters (2).
JV -- South Putnam won, 39-38.
Next Game -- South Putnam will face Greencastle Friday at 7:30 p.m.