GREENCASTLE -- Injuries and illness have slowed the South Putnam Eagles over the last month and helped add to a four-game losing streak recently. But on Tuesday night the Eagles got overcame a six-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter to defeat visiting Clay City, 50-46.
"Megan did a nice job of getting to the line," commented Eagles' coach Debbie Steffy. "She eight-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter and that helped a lot."
The Eagles ability to defend the Eels' top two scorers, Angie Camp and Britney Glass also had plenty to do with the victory.
The Eagles held the pair to just 11 points in the game, 13 below their combined average.
While Steffy was pleased with her team's effort against the pair, but she pointed out that stopping the Eels' duo wasn't necessarily a stress in the Eagles' game plan.
"Clay City is a good team. If you stop those two (Glass and Camp), then Mardi Steiner steps out and can hit shots or (Lydia) Farmer can hits shots or Reed can score too," said Steffy.
Steiner in fact did keep her team ahead of the Eagles for much of the game, getting hot from long range and dropping 17 points on South Putnam while going five-of-eight from 3-point range.
But in the fourth quarter it was the Eagles' ability to get to the line and finish around the basket that ultimately sealed the Eels' fate.
The Eagles trailed 42-36 with just more than four minutes remaining when Canary rebounded her own miss, scored the put back and was fouled. She completed the three-point play, one of four in the second half for South Putnam.
After a free throw from Glass, Canary got to the line again to hit two free throws and after Camp did the same for the Eels, Bailey Birt scored another three-point play for the Eagles.
The play got the Eagles within 45-44 and when Canary drove to the basket and was fouled on the baseline, her free throws gave the Eagles a lead they wouldn't relinquish, 46-45.
The Eels turned the ball over on the ensuing possession and, once again, Canary hit a free throw for a 47-45 lead.
Glass had a late chance to tie the score from the free throw line with 26 seconds left, but hit just one-of-two and Canary's eighth free throw finished off the Eagles' ninth win. Birt scored on a fast break at the buzzer to complete the scoring.
"We did a better job on defense in the second half," said Steffy. "We knew what we had to do, in the first half we just made little mistakes."
"Clay City is a good team and this is a good win for us," commented Steffy, in her 10th year with the team. "This is a nice way to send out our seniors and now we have to get ready for North Putnam and then the sectional."
The Eagles JV was also a winner, scoring a 36-23 win over the Eels.
South Putnam faces the Cougars on Friday night beginning at 6 p.m.
At South Putnam
Clay City (46) -- Glass 1-4 3-6 5, Reed 1-5 2-2 4, Steiner 5-7 2-4 17, Farmer 5-12 0-0 10, Camp 1-3 4-8 6, Targett 2-4 0-0 4. Totals: 15-35 11-20 46.
South Putnam (50) -- Canary 7-19 9-11 23, Birt 5-13 3-3 13, Boetjer 2-15 1-3 7, Mink 2-2 0-1 4, Butts 0-1 0-0 0, Hughes 1-2 0-0 2, Searles 0-3 1-2 1. Totals: 17-55 16-20 50.
Clay City 9 14 10 13 -- 46
S.Putnam 8 8 11 23 -- 50
3-point fieldgoals -- CC 5-8 (Steiner 5-9, Targett 0-1), SP 0-12 (Boetjer 0-5, Canary 0-4, Birt 0-3). Rebounds -- CC 37 (Camp 7, Glass 7), SP 28 (Birt 8). Total Fouls -- CC 17, SP 15. Turnovers -- CC 16, SP 8.