In Friday's Eagle Junior Varsity Holiday Tournament, the host South Putnam Eagles fell to Cascade in the final game 46-36 after a competitive, physical game.
Even though the Eagles won the tip, they couldn't hold on and get a win. Both teams were very aggressive from the start and the game became very physical very quickly.
Grant Zimmerman scored the Eagles' first three points, allowing them to take the early lead along with help from his teammate Seth Arnold who hit a couple free-throws. Zimmerman then hit a three giving the Eagles an 8-2 lead. The Cadets hit a free-throw to make the score 8-3 going into the second quarter.
Zimmerman and Dean Varvel hit valuable baskets that helped to increase the lead to 12-5 early in the second. However, due to turnovers and missed baskets, Cascade was able to come back and take a single point lead for a brief moment.
South Putnam's Brayden Freeman hit his free-throws to put the Eagles back into the lead 14-13 at the half.
But the Cadets came alive after halftime.
They were able to capitalize on Eagle fouls and miscommunication and found themselves leading 26-21 with a minute to go in the third. Again the game became very physical with both teams playing aggressively on both ends of the court. Cascade continued to lead 27-21 as the fourth quarter began.
South Putnam seemed to lose stamina and began making mistakes that allowed Cascade to increase their lead to eight.
With 4:20 to go in the game, Eagles' coach Chris Jones called a timeout to re-emphasize the point that even though they were down by eight once again, they weren't done until there was no more time left on the clock. This seemed to motivate and revive the Eagles because they began playing as they did in the first half. However, missed free-throws would come back to haunt them along with the fouls they committed. Hammond hit a three pointer with 2:30 to go to bring the Eagles within eight once again. But Cascade wasn't giving anything up. They took every possible shot, most of them falling, while South struggled to get anything to fall in their favor.
The baskets that the Cadets hit, plus teamwork, allowed them to lead for almost the entire second half. When Seth Hammond fouled out late in the fourth, South Putnam was out of substitutes because of an injury early in the second half that took Freeman out and Robbie Gibson fouling out half way through the fourth. This allowed Cascade to play with five players while South only had four. This was the final straw in the game for South and Cascade was able to come away with 46-36 victory.
Jones was overall pleased with his players even though he was disappointed at how the game ended.
"I thought our kids played hard and they gave a lot of effort.," Jones said. "We just didn't hit some timely shots when we needed to and Cascade took advantage of that which good teams will do. I think our kids will learn from everything that we did. I liked how our team attacked the rim and we were able to put pressure on their guard which was good. It's bittersweet because we beat them earlier in the year.
"I just wish we could've come out with the win, but we're young and we're learning and we get better everyday," he concluded.
South advanced to the finals by defeating North Vermillion 35-22 in the first round. Zimmerman was the leading scorer with 17 points in game one, followed by Varvel with 8.
At South Putnam
Eagle JV Holiday Tourney
North Vermillion 4 11 17 22
South Putnam 5 8 28 35
South Putnam -- Zimmerman 17, Varvel 8, Gibson 7, Freeman 3
Cascade 3 13 27 46
South Putnam 8 14 21 36
South Putnam -- Zimmerman 18, Varvel 5, Stanton 4, Hammond 3, Freeman 2.