South Putnam won the 2011 Eagle Holiday Classic 68-49 over Rockville and is in the midst of what could be its first winning season since the 2005-06 season. Head coach Lindsey Blackman has her team believing in their abilities and successes on the court are following.
"I think it's the mindset they approach it in," she said about the team's success. "I feel like we set the tone from the beginning -- winning early helps -- so when you win early, I think they've approached each game with the attitude that's 'we're going to win.' And I think that's kind of been lacking in the recent past.
"The mindset they enter every basketball game, I feel like that's really changed. When you have a positive mindset every game at least you give yourself a chance," Blackman added.
The Eagles stormed out of the gates in the first half of the their matchup with the Rox and never looked back. South Putnam began strong with Rockville keeping pace early. However, midway through the first quarter, the Eagles began to pull away.
South Putnam's junior Leanna Masters controlled the block in the first half, dumping 13 points on the Rox and helping lift the Eagles to a 42-27 lead at the break. Jenny Thompson added nine points as well.
The Eagles offense cooled off in the second half slightly; with point guard Jenna Jones having the hot hand for South Putnam. After being limited to just four points in the first half, Jones found her shot in the second and scored 10 points to lead the Eagles.
Master added four points to score a game-high 17 points, with Jones added 14 and Thompson adding 12 points. Emily Dabowski scored eight points and Alex McHugh came off the bench to add seven points. Mallory Cash scored five and Mattie Varvel chipped in one point in the win.
While it was two wins and a tournament championship on the day, Blackman said her team was a little unbalanced.
"Offensively we did (play well)," Blackman said. "We shot really well in that first game, which you hope for coming out (Christmas break) because you never know where you're going to be. But defense is where we struggled in both games. There were some lapses in not containing their perimeter players in both games. But overall they were good games."
The Eagles earned their spot in the championship game after making easy work of Turkey Run in the opening game 71-50.
South Putnam will open 2012 on the road at Eminence next Thursday at 6:30 p.m. With so much early success, Blackman hopes it carries over into the New Year and the team continues its positive ways of thinking.
"We've constantly improved, which has been good. I felt like we hopefully wouldn't have peaked at county when we played so well and I've felt like each game we've played better -- we've done little things better," Blackman said.
At South Putnam
Rockville 17 10 9 13 -- 49
South Putnam 28 14 10 16 -- 68
Rockville -- Carrington 15, Lee 13, Snodgrass 7, Lear 4, Gordon 4, Donovan 2, M. Gordon 2, Tucker 2. Totals: 18-66 FG, 11-25 FT, 49 TP.
South Putnam -- Masters 17, Jones 14, Thompson 12, Dabowski 8, McHugh 7, Cash 5, Varvel 1. Totals: 23-50 FG, 22-34 FT, 68 TP.
All Tournament team
South Putnam -- Jenny Thompson, Jenna Jones, Leanna Masters
Rockville -- Jerica Carrington
Turkey Run -- Hailey Cox