MARSHALL -- Things got off to a rocky start for the South Putnam Eagles in their season opener against Turkey Run Wednesday night. The Eagles lost to Turkey Run 47-35 in a game that South never established itself of the offensive end.
The South Putnam offense seemed unsure with its offense, which results into multiple turnovers throughout the night. First game jitters? Possibly but head coach Brian Gardner was at a loss pinpointing the cause after the game.
"I think at time we were (hesitant) and other times I thought we were OK with what we were trying to do," Gardner observed. "At times we were and that's something we should have learned from last year. This was the first game and that's the beauty of a first game -- it's the first game, now it's over and now we can go on and build from it."
Also contributing to the coach's frustration was the face he had to leave the bench numerous times because of being ill.
Both squads shot 16-20 from the floor but where the Warriors connected on eight three-pointers, the Eagles were unable to convert at all.
Turkey Run jumped out to a 9-2 lead, then the Eagles made a surge. Dayne Nelson, Michael Sebanc and Adam Master all connected on shots to pull the eagles within 2 at 12-10 at the end of the opening quarter.
The Eagles' shooting woes continued in the second quarter, as they went 2-12 from the field and 1-6 from the line. The Warriors on the other hand continued to shoot well from the outside and built their lead to seven points entering the half.
The Eagles stepped up their play in the third, stealing the ball on the Warriors first possession. South also began to work the inside, giving Noah Boswell an opportunity to get to the basket.
But again, Turkey Run nailed three from behind the three-point line to extend its lead to 10 at the end of three.
"We got down and they had a run at the beginning of the half and we got in a little bit of a panic and we got a little careless with the ball," Gardner said.
In the fourth, the Eagles played turkey Run even but the damage had been done. The Warriors closed the game by hitting 3-4 from the line down the stretch.
Derek Tomaw provided South Putnam with a major defensive threat. Sticking close, he closed down his offensive counterparts on numerous occasions during the game. The Eagles defensive unit as a whole played solid, forcing the Warriors to hit shot that would normally not see the bottom of the twine.
"He's (Derek) a great defender. He goes after guys and that's what he take pride in, being a defender that you can put on their best guy and he's going to go after them," Gardner said. "Every quarter, every minute, every second of every game and it's nice to call on him to do that.
"There are other guys who can do that. Cameron Chestnut is another guy who can do that. I feel all of our guys will step up if they have to and defend a guy," he added.
Looking ahead to the Putnam County Classic, Gardner emphasized the need to protect the ball and look to put points on the board.
"The biggest thing is we're going to have to take care of the basketball and really be strong with it. Best patient in the fact that when I touch the basketball, I'm going to look to the rim. And when I look to the rim, look for the guy in the post instead of being that hesitant," Gardner commented.
The Eagles (0-1) open the Putnam County Classic against host Greencastle at 6 p.m.
At Turkey Run
South Putnam 10 5 10 10 -- 35
Turkey Run 12 8 13 12 -- 47
South Putnam -- Boswell 10, Frame 7, Welty 4, Nelson 4, Sebanc 3, Chestnut 2, Masters 2, #21 2, Tomaw 1. FG 16-40 FT 3-10 TP 35.
Turkey Run -- Crum 13, Brown 8, Allee 8, Weaver 7, Karr 6, J. Davies 3, S. Davies 2. FG 16-40 FT 9-19 TP 47.
Next game -- The Eagles (0-1) open the Putnam County Classic against host Greencastle at 6 p.m.