In the end, the Patriots converted on 80 percent of their free throws en route to a 63-30 win over the host Eagles.
The tone of the game was set early, with the bigger Owen Valley squad flexing some muscle. However, they were on the Eagles' home court and the Eagles had no intention of backing down.
Eagles head coach Debbie Steffy said her team took it upon themselves to up the ante in regards to matching the Patriots physical play.
"Yeah, I thought it was," she said of the games physicality. "But I'll give our kids credit, they didn't. After probably the first five minutes of the ball game, they decided 'Hey, we're not going to back down. We're going to get right in there and try to mix it up a little bit.' And to their credit, they decided it and they did it."
The game stood at 3-2 in favor of Owen Valley for a few minutes early in the game, but they were able to knock down a few shots to get things going and jumped out to a 10-2 lead. Seeing one of her players taking some fouls, Steffy spoke up and received a warning from the referee.
On the very play, Owen Valley clearly knocked the ball out of bounds, but the referee signals for Patriots ball which Steffy briefly questioned and was quickly called for a technical foul at the 3:15 mark. That was how the game would be called all evening long -- tight.
The Eagles struggled to get on track, while the Patriots were able to score in bursts and built a 33-12 halftime lead. Leanna Masters pounded the ball inside and led South Putnam at the half with six points.
When asked about the technical foul following the game, Steffy said she simply expressed her displeasure with the call and the referee must not have appreciated her doing so.
South Putnam did a good job of frustrating the Patriots in the second and third quarters, limiting them to just 15 points, while scoring 11 of their own. But the Patriots put together another big quarter in the fourth to pull away from the Eagles.
Owen Valley's frustrations spilled over and their coach was cited for his own technical foul after slamming the ball into the air. The Patriots bench and crowd voiced their discontent with the amount of fouls going against them, but the Eagles only attempted three more free throws than Owen Valley.
The Eagles were outscored 27-9 in the first quarter and were outpaced in the final stanza 21-10 before falling to the Patriots 63-30. Steffy wasn't happy with the loss, but she was pleased with the grit they displayed on the night.
"For the most part I was impressed with how our kids fought back," Steffy said. "We got in a hole early and we just couldn't get out of it and that's something we've got to fix because it's happened to us a bit this season."
South Putnam will host Guerin Catholic Friday with the junior varsity tipping off at 6 p.m.
At South Putnam
Owen Valley 27 6 9 21 -- 63
South Putnam 9 3 8 10 -- 30
Owen Valley -- Matsel 13, Leichter 12, Owens 10, Evans 9, Kinnick 7, Eldridge 6, Heaslet 4, Hamm 2. Totals: 12-55 FG, 16-20 FT, 63 TP.
South Putnam -- Masters 8, Jones 7, Searles 6, Minor 3, Cash 2, McHugh 2, Whitaker 1, Urton 1. Totals: 8-47 FG, 13-23 FT, 30 TP
Next game -- South Putnam will host Guerin Catholic Friday with the junior varsity tipping off at 6 p.m.