About the only thing South Putnam basketball fans had to celebrate Friday evening were the homecoming festivities between the girls' and boys' basketball doubleheader against Greencastle.
The Tigers came out hot, quickly put the game out of reach, and asserted themselves quickly as one of the teams to beat in the West Central Conference championship chase, prevailing 60-42 in, quite frankly, a contest that wasn't nearly as close as the final score indicated.
In an effort to curtail the production of Greencastle's dominant inside scoring threats, Brennan Burks and Drew Evens, the Eagles came out in a zone against the Cubs. Despite this, however, Evens and Burks took their games outside on the first two Greencastle possessions, nailing threes, and giving the Cubs a lead they would never relinquish.
South Coach Brian Gardner acknowledged that his gameplan was designed to limit Burks' and Evens' touches in the paint. "We knew they were getting about 85 percent of their shots in the paint," Gardner said.
The second quarter began with a 5-2 Eagle run, but after the 5:00 mark, South Putnam would fail to score another point in the half. The Eagles' dry spell would continue well into the third quarter, and put them into a massive hole they would never be able to extricate themselves from.
At the intermission, the Cubs were on top, 28-12.
Greencastle opened the third quarter in a 7-0 run and extended their lead to 35-12 with 6:07 remaining. Gardner called a timeout at that point, but the Tiger Cubs maintained their margin. leading at the end of the stanza, 48-24.
Tiger Cub coach Troy Greenlee substituted freely to begin the final eight minutes, enabling South to embark upon a 12-0 run to open the quarter, closing the Greencastle margin to 48-36 with 5:13 to go.
Greenlee shared that the opening part of the fourth quarter was the only facet of his team's play he wasn't terribly pleased with. "I was a little disappointed in our second group," Greenlee stated. "We don't really consider that mop-up time."
The Cubs regrouped, however, with most of the starters back in the contest and rode out the final five minutes, outscoring the Eagles, 12-6, for the eventual 18-point margin of victory.
Greenlee felt like his team was able to adjust well to South's gameplan: "We suspected they'd come out in a zone...we made a few shots early, but we didn't just settle for the three after that. It was encouraging to me to see us work to get the ball inside...that shows me were maturing as a ballclub,"
Burks led all scorers with 22 points; Evens added 16. South Putnam was led by Nathan Welty with 9.
Greencastle (7-4, 3-0 WCC) will host Edgewood tonight at 7:00 p.m. South Putnam (2-9, 0-3 WCC) travels to Monrovia on January 18.
At South Putnam
|Greencastle||17 11 20 12 -- 60|
|South Putnam||7 5 12 18 -- 42|