The Eagles came up short, 50-36 to the Lady Warriors of Covenant Christian but a gutsier performance out of the Eagles could not have been found this season. Their will to compete almost overpowered a much quicker Covenant Christian squad.
"I can't fault our kids," South's head coach Debbie Steffy said. "I'm so proud of them. They fought through a lot of adversity tonight. In the second half we were tired, in the first half we ran and stayed up with them; we just didn't have anything left in the second half. Our shots were short and things like that. They fought through a lot in the second half."
At the break the Eagles had shocked a confident Lady Warrior's team and led by five points 19-14. The third quarter would prove to be South Putnam's shatterpoint, the point where everything falls apart.
Covenant Christian began its scoring eight seconds into the half and continued to add to its total. Buckets from Mackenzie Pheifer, Audrey Liddil and LaNayah Pollard dug the Lady Warriors out of its hole but it was Micah Pollard's two bombs from downtown that broke the game open.
South managed two field goals in the quarter from Bailey Birt and Oceaia Boetjer and a pair of free throws from Meghan Canary, but Covenant Christian has seized a 33-25 lead going into the fourth. The Eagles would never challenge the lead again.
The fourth quarter saw the Eagles put up some more points but the damage had been done. As their coach stated, South Putnam battling in the fourth quarter on will and little more.
"We were gassed there in the second half with short shots and things like that. We only had so many timeouts," Steffy observed.
Fatigue, coupled with an unrelenting Warrior presence kept the Eagles down and helped out them from the tournament.
South Putnam opened the game with a sense of the moment. They attacked the rim and aggressively went after loose balls, which helped them build an 11-6 lead after one. Physical play from senior Liz Mink resulted in a couple quick offensive rebounds and four points.
The Eagles controlled the second quarter again by pressuring the Lady Warriors on the defensive end and finding a way to put points up.
"Their quickness bothered us, not from the standpoint of pushing the ball up and down the court, but their quickness on the defensive end really bothered us. Whenever we did get to the basket there was someone always there," Steffy commented.
Although Covenant Christian displayed a quickness the Eagles faced in limited amounts this season, their defensive pressure was there. In the first half, that pressure was what kept South Putnam in the driver's seat. Steffy commented on the play of her seniors and how they came up big in their final game.
"When we had our legs and all, I thought we did a really good job. I told them that at halftime and at almost every timeout "you guys are working really hard, battling -- you just have to keep doing it". We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds and that was something that was a kind of a concern but like I said I'm proud of them.
"Our three senior got to leave on a good note in terms of we worked hard and they all three did a good job too," Steffy said.
The Eagles end their season with a record of 10-12.
South Putnam 11 8 6 11 -- 36
Covenant Christian 6 8 19 17 -- 50
South Putnam -- Boetjer 12, Birt 11, Canary 5, Mink 4, Butts 2, Searles 2. Totals: 11-46 FG 13-16 FT 36 TP.
Covenant Christian -- M. Pollard 16, Polliam 15, L. Pollard 7, Liddle 4, Pheifer 4, Owen 4. Total: 16-51 FG 16-22 FT 50 TP.
3pt. FG -- South Putnam (Birt), Covenant Christian (M. Pollard 2).