South Putnam was able to keep pace with the quick Cadet squad in the first half by causing Cascade to put up some ill-advised shots. Unlike the previous night, the shots weren't falling and the Cadets realized taking home the tournament title wasn't going to be a walk in the park.
The Eagles' Trey Moore took charge and set up shop in the paint, leading South Putnam with 13 points in the first half. It took two Cascade free throws with no time left on the clock to give them a 26-23 advantage at the break.
The Cadets shooting woes were quickly a thing of the past as they went on a run in the third quarter. Cascade outscored the Eagles 22-14 in the third quarter and that would turn out to be the tipping point in the contest.
South Putnam head coach Troy Burgess said the scoring surge was the result of two factors: Cascade picking up the pressure and his team losing track of their top two scorers.
"I thought they got out and pressured us a little bit," Burgess said. "We didn't take care of the basketball in the third quarter they way we had in the first half. Their pressure hurt us in the third quarter and we lost sight of Hopper a couple times there and we let Thomas penetrate.
"They've got two players. Two players scored 52 of their 68 points. They have two players and they're two very good players. Both Hopper and Thomas are very, very good players and they have role players that do a nice job as role players. But we have to know where those guys are," he added.
After their offensive output in the third quarter, it was back to looking mortal in the fourth quarter as both teams scored 18 points in the final stanza.
Moore adding 14 second half points to score a game-high 27 points. Sawyer Arnold scored nine, with Logan Pell adding seven and Seth Hammond and Rob Gibson adding four each. Alex Kelly and Justin Bumgardner chipped in two points each.
As the second ticked away and it became obvious a victory wasn't in store for them, South Putnam continued to fight and scrap, something Burgess expects and knows he'll get from his team.
"There's no quit in these guys. They're a great group of guys, they're competitors, they work hard -- they do everything we ask them to do. Sometimes we're just not getting the results we want on the scoreboard," Burgess said.
With the second half of their season set to begin next Friday at home against Eminence, Burgess noted his squad is improving each and every game.
"The thing we struggled with early on in the season was turnover and we weren't shooting the ball well. Well, we're starting to shoot the ball a little bit better now, now we have to work on our turnovers a little bit. When we do those things, we're going to be OK," Burgess said.
At South Putnam
Cascade 17 9 22 18 -- 68
South Putnam 14 9 14 18 -- 55
Cascade -- Hopper 27, Thomas 25, Arthur 8, Bridges 6, Lautenschlager 2. Totals: 24-64 FG, 15-20 FT, 68 TP.
South Putnam -- Moore 27, Arnold 9, Pell 7, Hammond 4, Gibson 4, Kelly 2, Bumgardner 2. Totals: 19-40 FG, 14-19 FT, 55 TP.