GREENCASTLE -- When the South Putnam Eagles watch the tape of Thursday night's high school basketball game, they will realize a big one got away.
After building a 15-2 lead in the first quarter, after cutting the margin to one point in the fourth, the Eagles lost to the visiting Northview Knights 49-46.
"Do we feel we let an opportunity go by? Absolutely. The kids know it too. They understand what we need to do to get better. They want to get better and we're going to go to practice (Friday) and get better," South Putnam coach Micah Elliott said.
South Putnam shot 40 percent (15-37) from the floor, including 60 percent (9-15) from three-point range and controlled the boards 30-20. Camerson Chestnut led the Eagles with 19 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Nathan Welty with 13 points and Brayden Freeman with 12.
But South Putnam's great start and blue-collar rebounding effort went down the drain with 20 turnovers -- 11 in the second half.
"It's a game of possessions and we have to take care of those turnovers," Elliott said.
South Putnam hit 5-9 shots from the floor in the opening quarter and used a box-and-one defense to hold Northview to 3-11 shooting. Free hit two threes and Welty's three gave the Eagles a 15-2 lead with 1:15 left in the first period.
"It did. We started off really well. We executed the game plan pretty well," Elliott said.
"We haven't played with a lead very much and when we were ahead I think we relaxed and were somewhat lackadaisical and they continued doing what we were doing."
Northview went into a 2-2-1 zone press and that took South Putnam out of its offense. Northview went on a 20-0 run, holding the Eagles scoreless for 7 minutes and 11 seconds.
Northview led 22-15 before South's Chestnut drove to the basket for a lay up with 1:56 left in the first half. Northview led 24-20 at halftime.
"They had a huge run on us and we didn't answer their run. We kind of stopped the bleeding there at the end of the second quarter and it was a four-point game going into halftime," Elliott said.
South turned the ball over six times in the third quarter.
"We put our self in position to come out (the second) half and still be the game and still have the chances to execute and get back in (the lead). The third quarter we start out our first three possessions with turnovers," Elliott said.
Northview led 36-31 going into the final period. Chestnut scored on a backdoor pass from Freeman and Welty converted two free throws that drew South within one, 36-35, with 6:58 left in the game.
Northview put together another run, this one 9-0, to lead 45-35 with 3:13 to play.
South Putnam held Northview to four points over the final 3:13 of the game.
Threes by Freeman and Chestnut cut the deficit to 45-43 with 23 seconds to play. Northview's Jonathan Bradshaw was 4-4 at the free throw line and the 49-43 lead looked secure with 13 seconds left.
Freeman hit another 3-pointer with three seconds left to give South a last-gasp chance, but Northview got the ball in play to run out the clock.
South Putnam returns to action Feb. 16 at South Vermillion.
At South Putnam
Northview 7 17 12 13 -- 49
South Putnam 15 5 11 15 -- 46
Northview (49) -- Mershon 2-5 3-3 9, Talbo 3-5 2-4 8, Bradshaw 3-8 7-9 13, Hyatt 3-7 2-2 11, Reynolds 3-13 0-2 6, Allen 0-1 0-0 0, Van Horn 1-1 0-0 2. Totals FG 15-40, FT 14-20, 49 TP.
South Putnam (46) -- Varvel 0-3 0-0 0, Chestnut 6-13 5-5 19, Masters 1-5 0-0 2, Welty 4-8 2-2 13, Freeman 4-8 0-0 12, Gibson 0-0 0-0 0, Stanton 0-0 0-0 0, Geier 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-37 FG, 7-7 FT, 46 TP.
3 Pt. Goals -- Nv 5-16 (Hyatt 3-4, Mershon 2-3, Allen 0-1, Reynolds 0-8), SP 9-15 (Freeman 4-5, Welty 3-5, Chestnut 2-5). Total Fouls: Nv 9, SP 21. Fouled out -- None. Turnovers -- Nv 8, SP 20. Rebounds: Nv 22 (Bradshaw 8), SP 30 (Chestnut 11). Steals: Nv 12 (Reynolds 4), SP 3 (Masters 3).
Northview won 39-31
Next game -- South Putnam (3-13, 0-5 in WCC) plays at South Vermillion Feb. 16. Northview (3-12, 1-5 in WIC) will host Monrovia on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.