CLAYTON -- Despite a 21-point first quarter, the South Putnam Eagles were unable to capitalize on a series of fortuitous events at Cascade Friday evening, eventually dropping the WCC contest, 63-52.
Early in the opening stanza, Cascade's senior floor leader Anthony Arthur was on on the bench with two personals, which precipitated an unusual possession for the Eagles. South ended up with six points, despite not scoring a bucket. The Eagles went 6-7 from the line on Arthur's foul, a second foul called on an SP put --back, and finally a technical on Arthur's replacement, who failed to report.
Cameron Chestnut had the hot hand early for South, eventually leading the Eagles in scoring with 14. Chestnut, however, showed hesitation later in the game when faced with some open looks. Coach Brian Gardner acknowledged that his young club has, "trouble deciding at times when open shots should be taken." The first quarter ended with South on top, 21-15.
The second stanza, like the first, was played at a frenetic pace, with South finding it difficult to transition to the defensive end. Gardner stated that his team, "(Has) to do a better job of knowing when to attack. When we force stuff that isn't there, we can't get back and then we break down defensively, especially on dribble penetration and the help side."
The Eagles managed only one bucket in the second quarter, but contnued to excel from the charity stripe, going 6-8. Despite that positive aspect of the game, SP was outscored by the Cadets 17-8 in the second quarter. A Josh Fueher three gave Cascade a 32-29 edge at the half.
In the third, the Cadets stretched the lead to seven, 46-39, thanks to an 11-4 run from the 5:00 mark on.
The final period began with a 10-4 Cascade run that forced the Eagles to rush shots and play catch-up for the remainder of the contest. In the end, South had no legs, evidenced by the Eagles trying to foul the Cadets to regain possession, and their ensuing shots attempts falling short.
"We just gotta fix it," Gardner added, "and we have to do it quick."
South Putnam (0-3, 0-1 WCC) takes on South Montgomery at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
South Putnam 21 8 10 13 -- 52
Cascade 15 17 14 17 -- 63