Riverton Parke went on a 5-0 run to close the first quarter, leading 17-11 going into the second. The Eagles fought their way back into the game, with Jenny Thompson hitting a three-pointer just before the half and cutting the lead to 25-21 at the break.
However, a promising start to the second half soon faded and the Eagles found themselves playing catch up for the remainder of the game.
"We had a good start to the third quarter. I thought we were going to fight our way back into it. We tied it up and then it seemed like No. 24 turned it on. Sara Dickey is hard to handle when she says 'I'm going to the basket,'" South Putnam head coach Lindsey Blackman said.
The Eagles took the lead early in the third 28-26 on a bucket from Thompson. Riverton Parke tied the game up and took the lead for good at 30-28. The Panthers closed the third on a 13-0 run and held a 39-28 edge entering the fourth.
Riverton Parke outscored the Eagles 18-16 to maintain its edge and earn the win 57-44. The Panthers converted 14 more free throws on the night than the Eagles.
"I don't think the score really reflected the kind of intensity and flow of the game. We put them at the line way too early in the first half and that continued in the second half. Our help side defense wasn't as strong as we needed it to be or as clean and efficient as it needed to be," Blackman said.
In addition to the trips to the line, Blackman said her team allowed the Panthers too many extra attempts, which they converted on.
"Rebounding -- they had too many second-chance shots. We started off the third quarter with probably our best string of rebounding and then all of a sudden, we gave them several offensive boards in a row and you can't give a team like that second-chance shots," she said.
Leanna Masters led the Eagles with 16 points, followed by Thompson with 11. Ericka Minor scored nine, with Mattie Varvel adding four and Alex McHugh and Jenna Jones chipping in two points each.
South Putnam will be back in action Friday when it hosts Greencastle in a rematch of the Putnam County Classic championship game. The teams will tip at 6 p.m.
At South Putnam
Riverton Parke 17 8 14 18 -- 57
South Putnam 11 10 7 16 -- 44
Riverton Parke -- S. Dickey 17, Yando 14, Burnham 9, E. Dickey 8, Falls 5, Virostko 4. Totals: 20-64 FG, 17-24 FT, 57 TP.
South Putnam -- Masters 16, Thompson 11, Minor 9, Varvel 4, McHugh 2, Jones 2. Totals: 19-56 FG, 3-5 FT, 44 TP.