GREENCASTLE -- Foul trouble and difficulties rebounding were the name of the game for the South Putnam Eagles Friday. The Eagles were in foul trouble early and gave a bigger Owen Valley squad too many second chances in a game where they found themselves down double-digits in the first quarter. South Putnam lost to the Patriots 72-47, dropping to 3-15 on the season.
"They did a nice job of hitting shots," Eagle head coach Micah Elliott said. "We got in foul trouble -- our bench played well. We got a lot of much needed bench points tonight. We had seven turnovers in the first quarter that got us down 14 points and really couldn't recover from that point. We had five turnovers the rest of the game, so that's a positive."
The Eagles did do some positive things on the night, but they couldn't withstand a constant attack from the Patriots.
South Putnam's Nathan Welty opened the game with a quick bucket, but Owen Valley answered with six points of its own. Then the Patriots went on a 17-4 run to close the quarter leading 23-9.
The Eagles used a balanced attack in the second to outscore the Patriots 13-12 and enter the half down 35-21. However, the Patriots had one big quarter left and left little room for South Putnam to battle back from.
Senior Adam Masters exploded out of the break to supply seven timely points for SPHS, but two equally significant three-pointers from the Patriots powered a 21-point outburst in the quarter and essentially sealed their victory.
Welty led the Eagles in scoring on the night with 16 points, followed by fellow seniors Sam Geier with eight and Masters with seven.
Elliott spoke about what the team can do to win its remaining games and win in the sectional tournament, but he also pointed out things that will be detrimental if his team can't overcome.
"But rebounding, and giving up 72 points, we wouldn't win a game," he said. "So, we have to make a commitment defensively to get better this week and a commitment to rebounding. Those things are the things I believe everyone on our team can do.
"Everyone on our team can be a good defensive player and needs to be a good defensive player. At times we were good. We were helping, we were rotating, we recovered, and we were sinking to the block and taking the weak side block away. We were doing those things, but then at times we just stopped and stood. We played a zone and they got up and they were going to hold the ball and we have to be able to still run man principles and get out there and not give up easy shots. I think we gave up too many easy shots tonight," Elliott added.
Despite being outscored by 25 points on the night, Elliott still has faith in his offense, but wants his players to come to understand how the offense can work for them throughout the game. If they can master that, the wins should fall into place.
"There were some positives," Elliott acknowledged. "Offensively, we're not a juggernaut, but we were getting some good looks, but we were taking too quick of shots. Something good would happen after a couple of ball reversals and we'd attack. Then we would just force things and that's immaturity as a basketball player and understanding the game and understanding how we did. At this point in the year, we should know how to do it and we need to make sure we grasp that and go through and work on those things and understand those.
"You're never happy to lose, but you can see a little bit of positives out there," Elliott concluded.
South Putnam will travel to Rockville Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. tip
Owen Valley 23 12 21 16 -- 72
South Putnam 9 13 13 12 -- 47
Owen Valley (72) -- C. Vest 18, D. Vest 11, Hollows 9, Gilstrap 8, White 8, Worland 6, Headley 2, Hight 2. Totals: 27-56 FG, 9-12 FT, 72 TP.
South Putnam (47) -- Welty 16, Geier 8, Masters 7, Varvel 6, Gibson 6, Freeman 3. Totals: 17-46 FG, 9-10 FT, 46 TP.
Next game -- South Putnam will travel to Rockville Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. tip