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Monday, May 2, 2016

South Putnam moves into sectional semifinal with win over Clovers

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

South Putnam's Alex Kelly disrupts Cloverdale's Joe Fidler's shot during Tuesday's sectional opener.
The opening game at the IHSAA sectional No. 44 at South Putnam High School pitted the host school with county foes Cloverdale.

The game may not being going down in the offensive record books, but it did go down as a win for the home side as the Eagle knocked the Clovers out of the sectional 54-39.

Scoring came at a premium through three quarters of the contest as the two squads expended great amounts of energy on the defensive end trying to keep the opposition at bay.

Cloverdale opened the scoring with a Joe Fidler three-pointer, but that would be as large a lead as either team had in the frame.

Rob Gibson gave the Eagle's their first lead at 6-5 after a steal and lay-up, only for the lead to go straight back to the Clovers on the following possession.

After trading the lead off before the quarter finished, South Putnam held a 12-11 advantage at the end of the first and slowly began to add to the lead in the second.

Cloverdale's only scoring output in the period came on back to back three pointers from Kade Schroer to cut a seven point lead down to one.

The Eagles scored the remaining four points of the period and carried a slim 22-17 lead into the break, capped off by a Gibson three at the buzzer.

Neither offense had any more luck scoring in the third period, though South Putnam again outscored the Clovers, this time by a slender 9-7 margin.

The offenses finally arrived in the fourth quarter as both teams began to attack the basket. The sides shot 27 total free throws in the period, a byproduct of the need for points.

In the end, the Clover offense wasn't able to keep pace with the Eagles as fast break opportunities finally materialized while shots that for three quarters weren't falling started dropping.

Sawyer Arnold scored seven of his co-team high 12, doing all the damage from the free throw line as the Eagles hit 11 of their 13 foul line shots.

As was also the case in the first three quarters, the hosts outscored Cloverdale en route to their first sectional win since the 2005-2006 season.

South Putnam head coach Troy Burgess said that the squad kept attacking and finally got shots to fall.

"I thought we missed a lot of open looks in the first three quarters. We had a lot of looks three, four, five feet from the basket but couldn't get them to drop," Burgess said.

"Part of them wouldn't fall, but you have to give Cloverdale credit for good defensive pressure on us. I felt that in the fourth quarter, when we started attacking the basket, we got more of those to drop."

"We then hit free throws when we had to. I take my hat off to Cloverdale. They played very hard and I was proud of our kids and how we played tonight," Burgess added.

Cloverdale head coach Pat Rady said that the squad did what they could but couldn't quite get over the top.

"Sometimes you have nights where the ball doesn't bounce for you. We had a lot of good shots and a lot of free throws that didn't fall," Rady said.

"I was concerned with our inexperience in the tournament. But my hat's off to the kids. They came in facing a lot of challenges and I thought they competed as well as they could against that challenge."

"You can't fault the defense. The first game is tough and we had a lot of things going against us tonight. They did about as well as they could and I'm very proud of them," Rady added.

"I don't think too many players had to battle what they had to battle and done as well as they did, and I'm very proud of them."

For South Putnam, Cascade awaits on Friday. Burgess said that ball control would be key against a squad that the Eagles have lost to twice already this season.

"We've played Cascade twice, so they know what we're going to do and we know what they're going to do. They're a very talented team. They're coaching staff does a great job there," Burgess said.

"They've got great ball handlers and players. They've really hurt us when they pressured us in the first two games. Their pressure, whether in the half or full court, really hurt us."

"For us to be competitive on Friday, we've got to take care of the basketball. We've got to do a much better job of taking care of it. If we don't, it's going to be another long night for us."

At South Putnam

IHSAA Class 2A Sectional No. 44

Cloverdale 11 6 7 15 -- 39

South Putnam 12 10 9 23 -- 54

Individual Scoring

Cloverdale -- Williams 12, Fidler 9, Schroer 6, Z. Dorman 6, Pfaff 2, Strunk 2, B. Dorman 2

South Putnam -- Gibson 12, Arnold 12, Hammond 9, Moore 9, Kelly 6, Chestnut 4, Bumgardner 2

Next game -- South Putnam hosts Cascade Friday at 6 p.m.