The Eagles defeated Cloverdale 50-19 and will now face Greencastle in the title game.
The game was close after one quarter, with South Putnam leading 11-2, but a huge second quarter had the Eagles outscoring the Clovers 16-7 and went into the half with a 27-9 lead.
Of the Eagles' 27 first half points, 14 points came from the players off the bench. Head coach Debbie Steffy was pleased with the overall effort from her team and noted it was total team win. The one aspect she wasn't so pleased with was unforced turnovers.
"If was a good win for us," she said. "We got a lot of people in the game, a lot of people played a lot of minutes and played pretty well for us. We were able to experiment with a few things tonight, change up some defenses and things like that. So, it was a good game for us.
"We're disappointed. We had too many turnovers again, throwing the basketball around and not taking care of it. We didn't' do as good of job on the boards as what we would have liked, but for the most part we'll take it. We get to play the second game tomorrow night and that's what you shoot for this time of the season, so we're OK," Steffy added.
The Clovers struggled with scoring the entire game and in the first half converted just 4-of-21 shots from the floor, but first-year head coach Tom Anderson saw some improvement in his squad.
He acknowledged they have a ways to go, but it's just a matter of keeping their chins up.
"I thought that if we would play this well down a Dugger, we would have won," Anderson commented. "We have to measure it not on wins and losses, but are we progressing. The effort was there.
"We had a ton of shots that were close and if we ever learn to knock those down, it would have made it a different ballgame," he continued. "We had a lot of nice six, eight, ten-footers, but the problem is, most of the didn't even get to the rim. We work on shooting, believe me, we work on shooting and we'll continue to work on shooting. We've got to knock that shot down."
The second half went the same way as the first had, with South gaining control early and Cloverdale struggling. The Eagles' extended their lead to 36-15 at the end of three quarters and continued to capitalize on Cloverdale miscues.
Starters Emily Dabkowski and Brooke Boetjer combined for 10 points in the final quarter as South Putnam won the game 50-19.
Despite the loss, Anderson was pleased with the effort he saw on Friday and commented that he thought they improved their passing, team hustle and the way they scrapped on the boards. He knows it's a tough task, but he hopes his team keeping faith in themselves that they have what it takes to become a better basketball team.
"It's getting better," he said. "We just have to keep believing that what we're doing is the right thing. I know we're headed in the right direction, they just don't give up -- as Jimmy Valvano said -- don't ever give up."
For Steffy, she too liked what she saw from her team, especially the effort she received from her non-starters.
"In particular I liked hustle and their intensity on the defensive end was really good to see. Those younger kids that got in, kind of like our second string if you will, they did a nice job for us when they got in there," she commented.
The Eagles will face Greencastle in the championship game, following the Cloverdale and North Putnam game that's set to tip at 6:30 p.m. at South Putnam.
At South Putnam
2009 Putnam County Tournament
Cloverdale 2 7 6 4 -- 19
Greencastle 11 16 9 14 -- 50
Cloverdale -- McCammon 8, Gruener 4, Langdon 3, Oetken 2, McCallie 2. Totals: 9-49 FG, 1-7 FT 19 TP.
Greencastle -- Boetjer 10, Jones 8, Varvel 6, Jes. Thompson 6, Jen. Thompson 5, Dabkowski 4, Masters 4, Minor 3, Searles 2, Urton 2, Totals: 22-55 FG 4-9 FT 50 TP.
Next game -- The Eagles will face Greencastle in the championship game, following the Cloverdale and North Putnam game that's set to tip at 6:30 p.m. at South Putnam.