The Eagles knew they would have their hands full Tuesday with Rockville's post presence. Junior Beth Mahurin is an athletic 6-foot-2-inch center and South Putnam knew the Rockville offense was going to go through her.
The Eagles countered with their equally imposing post players junior Kelsey Searles, sophomore Brooke Boetjer and freshman Leanna Masters. The trio was able to limit Mahurin in what she wanted to do in the post, and didn't allow her get into a rhythm.
From the opening tip, it was apparent that the Eagles were looking to shake off a little offseason rust, as they struggled from the field. In the opening quarter, South Putnam shot 3-of-14 and trailed 20-11 going into the second quarter.
Early fouls forced a few key South Putnam starters to the bench early, but in the second quarter they shot 50 percent and limited Mahurin to just a point. Emily Dabkowski and Masters scored six and four, respectively, in the quarter and helped pull the Eagles within five at 31-26 entering halftime.
After the break, South Putnam found the iron once again unkind and struggled to just nine points in the quarter, with five of their nine coming from the foul line. Still, they found themselves down 10 entering the final period.
Their shooting difficulties carried over into the fourth quarter and as a result Rockville was able to extend its lead to 20 points midway through period and put the game out of reach. South Putnam finished the quarter by putting up nine points, but fell by the final tally of 60-44.
Dabkowski led the Eagles with 17 points, followed by Searles with nine and Boetjer with seven. Masters chipped in four, while Mattie Varvel, Ericka Minor and Robbie Urton recorded two points each. Jenna Jones scored one point in the loss.
South Putnam head coach Debbie Steffy acknowledged following the game that her team is youthful and will make youthful mistakes, but believes they will be able to do some good thing once they get those out of their system.
The night began on a high note for the Eagles, as their junior varsity squad came from behind to win in overtime 58-55.
With 12.1 to go in regulation, Liz Comer went to the charity stripe and knocked down to big free throws to tie the game at 47-all and force overtime.
In the extra period, South Putnam watched as Rockville regained the lead with 1:31 to go when Tutu Huang connected on two free tosses to lead 53-52. Two more free throws brought the score to 55-52 in favor of the Rox, but South Putnam's heart wouldn't let them lose.
Caitlyn Boyce drove to the hoop hard with 43 seconds remaining and tossed the ball in to bring South Putnam to within two points. Then teammate Kelsey Whitaker put the Eagles up 56-55 by connecting on a shot with 35 seconds remaining.
With seconds melting off the clock, Rockville attempted to put the ball up and in, but Nikki York swatted the offering and proceeded to stroke two free throws with .03 remaining on the clock to preserve the win.
South Putnam (0-1) will be back in action Friday when it hosts Edgewood, with the junior varsity set to tip at 6 p.m.
At South Putnam
Rockville 20 11 14 15 -- 60
South Putnam 11 15 9 9 -- 44
South Putnam -- Dabkowski 17, Searles 9, Boetjer 7, Masters 4, Varvel 2, Minor 2, Urton 2, Jones 1. Totals: 15-55 FG, 14-25, FT 44 TP.
Rockville -- Mahurin 21, Carrington 9, Greene 9, Sutherlin 9, Woodard 7, Sandusky 2, Riffe 2, Lee 1. Totals: 21-56 FG, 17-37 FT, 60 TP.
Next game -- South Putnam will host Edgewood at 6 p.m. Friday.