GREENCASTLE -- November 20th seems like a long time ago.
It was on that day last year that South Putnam's girls' basketball team recorded their only win of the season. That 64 day stretch without win continues as the Eagles lost to Monrovia 58-43 Friday night,
Both squads exchanged the lead early in the first quarter. Once Monrovia took a 10-8 lead, the Bulldogs would not relinquish it, scoring nine of the last 11 points in the period to gain a 19-11 lead.
The pace began to slow down as foul problems mounted for both sides. Monrovia scored nine points to the hosts five as the clock wound down on the half before Mallory Cash hit a three-pointer just inside half court to bring the lead back down to single digits at 28-19.
Quarter number three was one to remember for fouls. Nineteen fouls, many coming against the Eagles early on, forced several starters to the bench while Monrovia capitalized and pounded away on the scrambling hosts.
By the time the fourth quarter started, South found themselves down twenty and the Bulldogs out of reach. Though the Eagles outscored the visitors in the final period, there was little time to make up the deficit and the hosts suffered their thirteenth straight loss.
During their winless streak, Eagle head coach Debbie Steffy has seen the effort from her squad, just not the execution at times and Friday night was no different.
"I felt like in the first half, we started out real well and then they came out and put a lot of pressure on us and that's when we let the ballgame get away from us. We talked about, we have to take care of the basketball when we get in those situations," Steffy said.
"If we don't, it's a negative all around," she continued. "We go down, we don't get a chance to score. They go down, they get a chance to score. It's like a four point swing because you don't get anything and they do."
"I thought our kids played hard. I can't ever fault our kids as hard as they play, but when it came down to it, we've got to take care of the basketball and play good defense," Steffy added.
The game hinged a bit on who was available on the court as foul trouble plagued both teams, but seemingly at the wrong times for the Eagles.
"In the second quarter, we got into some foul trouble so we had some players sitting on the bench that we would have liked to have had in the game and we let it get away from us," Steffy said. "Came out in the second half, had it in single digits, then they went on a run and came out and pressed us. We turned the basketball over and they got a few quick scores.
"It's tough to play defense for a long time when you're not scoring points. That's why I can't fault our kids. We've got to do a better job of knocking down shots. We're getting some decent shots and just not putting them in the hole," Steffy added.
With sectionals just a few weeks away, Steffy and the Eagles are looking for some confidence heading into the final four games of the season, starting with a trip to Tri-West next week.
"We play Tri-West on Tuesday, a team that is real competitive and I think that we can be competitive with. We hope to go to Tri-West and play pretty well," Steffy said. "They're a sectional opponent and we don't know for sure who we'll draw but we'd like to leave an impression on them that they don't want to draw us."
At South Putnam
Monrovia 19 9 17 13 -- 58
South Putnam 11 8 6 18 -- 43
Monrovia -- Mo. Knieper 24, Ma. Knieper 12, Vondersaar 10, Brackett 5, Wright 4, Smith 3
South Putnam -- Cash 11, Masters 8, Searles 7, Jones 6, Minor 5, McHugh 4, Whitaker 2
Next game -- South Putnam (1-15, 0-3 WCC) travels to Tri-West Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.