The Greencastle Tiger Cubs and host South Putnam Eagles opened the 2007 Putnam County Tournament Friday night in a hard fought contest, with the Eagles coming out on top by a margin of 57-46.
"We talked before the game we were going to have to play well from the start all the way to the finish," South Putnam head coach Debbie Steffy said. "We had some times there when we looked like we got tired but I thought for the most part we came out and played hard from the first tip off all the way to the final buzzer."
The Eagles jumped out to a five-point lead before the Tiger Cubs could find the hoop. South Putnam extended its lead as Bailey Birt and Oceaia Boetjer connected on three-pointers midway through the quarter. The Eagles were also strong at the line as Meghan Canary and Boetjer made five of six. As the quarter ended, the Eagles lead was 15-6.
After a sluggish first quarter, Greencastle made a run in the second. The Tiger Cubs received a big lift from Mallory Miller off the bench. She entered the game in the second quarter and scored seven points to pace the Tiger Cubs.
But just as Greencastle was heating up so was South's Canary. She drained two bombs from three-point territory along with a bucket inside and three points at the line, to score 11 points in the quarter. The Eagles went into the locker room at the half leading 30-21.
When asked about his team's performance GHS head coach Glen Hile acknowledged his team's slow start.
"Except for the first quarter, pretty well," Hile commented. "Really all three games have been slow starts. Even on Saturday we didn't pick it up until the second half.
Probably the key was in the last four minutes of the second quarter when we turned them over a bunch and didn't convert. Had we got one or two of those shots to drop, we probably are making this a tight game at the end, instead of staying right at nine points.
"We got a lot of good sounds that didn't fall," he added.
Both squads played evenly in the second half with South Putnam outscoring Greencastle by a mere two points, but GHS couldn't rebound from its sluggish start.
South big scoring in the third quarter was Boetjer, who scored eight of the Eagles' 12 points.
In the fourth quarter, the Eagles went 13-15 to close the game and win 57-46. Canary was sent to the line and knocked down all eight of her attempts.
"Canary did her job. She kept the ball in her hand and got to the foul line and you don't put her on the foul line. She's going to hit them," Hile said.
The Eagles will face Cloverdale, who defeated North Putnam 77-59, in the finals Saturday.
Having played a limited lineup, Steffy is expecting to have her team rest and be focused on the championship.
"We'll come in and walk through some things as far as who we'll be playing against. I only played seven or eight people today, so we're going to have some tired people," she commented.
At South Putnam
Greencastle 6 15 12 13 -- 46
South Putnam 15 15 12 15 -- 57
Greencastle -- M. Miller 10, Alspaugh 8, Hennette 8, Fisher 7, Spencer 6, Samuels 6, Grivas 1.
South Putnam -- Canary 23, Boetjer 16, Birt 7, Butts 6, Mink 5.
Next game -- South Putnam will face Cloverdale in the Putnam County Tournament finals starting at 6:30 p.m. today.