By STEVE FIELDS
For the BannerGraphic
The South Putnam Eagles took an important step forward Tuesday night in their 54-44 victory over the visiting West Vigo Vikings. They won a close game.
The Eagles stood up to the Vikings' press, regained the lead in the third quarter, and hit free throws down the stretch to improve their record to 2-3 in the high school girls' basketball season.
"There are going to be a lot more games like this during the season. It's always going to be a test. How can we remain composed? How can we handle the basketball? And they know it. I thought we did a pretty good job. We got rattled a few times, but for the most part I thought we did a pretty good job handling the pressure on the press," South Putnam coach Debbie Steffy said.
Oceaia Boetjer led South Putnam with 17 points, knocking down three-pointers and hitting 6-of-8 free throws. The Eagles also got 11 points from freshman Emily Dabkowski, who also hit 3-of-4 from the free throw line.
While their 31-percent (18-57) shooting from the floor does not reflect it, the Eagles got several good open shots at the basket out of their half-court offense.
"Our rotation of the basketball was better tonight. We were able to get some people wide open looking shots, as opposed to having to drive, pull up and shoot a jump shot," Steffy said.
South Putnam led 11-9 at the first stop, then outscored West Vigo 10-5 in the second period to take a 21-14 halftime lead.
West Vigo (0-5) scored the first five points of the second half to cut the Eagles' lead to 21-19. The Vikings tied the score 30-30 on a three-pointer by Breanna Marrs and deuce from Karen Beal.
West Vigo took its only lead of the night, 33-31, on a Beal three with 2:12 left in the third quarter.
Oceaia Boetjer, who is proving herself to be clutch player, put South ahead for good with a three with 1:08 left in the third quarter. Jenny Thompson scored an old fashioned three-point play to give the Eagles a 37-33 lead going into the final eight minutes.
South led the entire fourth quarter, but could not pull away from West Vigo until the final 2:17. South's Dabkowski, Oceaia Boetjer and Jenny Thompson combined for 10 points and hit 6-of-7 free throws.
"I was pleased with the way we played. We want to get better every game and I really feel like we are. The kids have worked hard," Steffy said.
South returns to action at home on Dec. 2 against Danville.
At South Putnam
West Vigo (44) -- Edmondson 0-2 0-1 0, Brit Marrs 4-6 2-3 11, Umphries 4-6 6-6 14, Klotz 0-7 3-4 3, Waters 1-4 0-0 2, Brea Marrs 2-14 1-2 6, Barton 0-1 0-0 0, Beal 2-12 0-0 5, Carlson 1-5 0-0 3, Hall 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-67 FG, 12-16 FT, 44 TP.
South Putnam (53) -- B. Boetjer 3-6 1-5 7, Butts 1-6 1-4 3, O. Boetjer 4-16 6-8 17, Jes Thompson 0-3 0-0 0, Dabkowski 4-9 3-4 11, Burnham 2-4 0-0 4, Searles 1-3 0-0 2, Jen Thompson 3-10 3-4 9. Totals 18-57 FG, 14-25 FT, 53 TP.
West Vigo 9 5 19 11 -- 44
South Putnam 11 10 16 16 -- 53
3Pt. Goals: WV 4-25 (Brit. Marrs 1-4, Brea Marrs 1-9, Beal 1-4, Waters 1-3, Klotz 0-5), SP 3-13 (O. Boetjer 3-10, Jes Thompson 0-1, Jen Thompson 0-2). Total fouls: WV 21, SP 16. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: WV 17, SP 18. Rebounds: WV 44 (Brit Marrs 12), SP 52 (Butts 10, O. Boetjer 9).
JV: South Putnam won 27-19.
Next game: On Dec. 2, West Vigo (0-5) plays at Sullivan and South Putnam (2-3) will host Danville.