South Putnam's boys' basketball squad, fresh off their Putnam County Classic win, opened up West Central Conference play against Cascade Friday.
Both teams offerd a tough, physical style of play that provided plenty of bumps and bruises along the way.
It was the Eagles, though, with a bruising 21 point fourth quarter that finally put the Cadets away in a 49-38 victory.
A slow start by both teams was ended when Eagles guard Sawyer Arnold knocked down the final eight points of the first quarter to give the hosts a 14-5 advantage.
With both squads playing a slow, half-court centered system, points became hard to come by as the Cadets outscored South Putnam by a meager 10-6 tally to go into halftime trailing 20-15.
Neither team was able to make much of a move in the third period as the slow, grinding pace of the game continued, though Cascade cut the lead down to three at 28-25 entering the final period of play.
The game finally came to life in the fourth quarter. The squads traded baskets back-and-forth for half of the period as the Eagles barely kept themselves above the Cadets at multiple junctures.
South Putnam finally began to break away after a pair of Trey Moore baskets, followed by a pair of jumpers from Klayton Vittetow, gave the Eagles a 34-27 advantage.
Cascade would only close the gap to six points and could not find the baskets needed to stay within touching distance as the Eagles continued to pile on the points and picked up their first WCC win of the season.
South Putnam head coach Troy Burgess said afterwards that the similar nature of both teams made the game one of attrition rather than scoring.
"It was a physical game. Cascade plays a lot like we do," Burgess said. "They're a team that tries to play in the half court and defend you in the half court, trying to keep the score low.
"It's not that we don't want to go up and down the floor; we just want to defend people, play physical and get the ball inside. Cascade plays the same way.
"When you get two teams doing the same thing, you get a ball game like this," Burgess added.
The game opened up in the fourth quarter and Burgess said Cascade had to leave their comfort zone to try and catch the Eagles, which allowed the squad to get easier looks.
"In the fourth quarter, (Cascade) started getting quicker with their shots because they were playing from behind and, consequently, they moved into full court man-to-man defense," Burgess said.
"That created some easy opportunities for us. Our kids did a great job of adjusting and taking advantage of what they gave us."
South Putnam has a quick turnaround as the Eagles host Southmont Saturday night. Burgess said the squad would need to be ready for an entirely different style of game.
"Southmont's very good. They've got three very good shooters. We told the kids after the game to bring their track shoes because Southmont wants to get out and run," Burgess said.
"They're not going to make a lot of passes on the offensive end. They've got very good perimeter shooters that can handle the ball well and they want to shoot the three.
"We're going to have to do a good job of trying to control the tempo and take care of the ball. They'll pressure us full court, just like Danville did," Burgess added.
"We've got to do a better job of handling the pressure, moving the ball and getting into our offensive set. We've got to get back on defense and slow their offensive tempo.
"If we don't, it'll be a long night for us."
At South Putnam
Cascade 5 10 10 13 -- 38
South Putnam 14 6 8 21 -- 49
Cascade -- 14-55 FG, 3-11 3-FG, 7-12 FT
Suter 16, Bobadilla 11, Canaday 6, Bajwa 5
South Putnam -- 20-48 FG, 3-11 3-FG, 6-12 FT
Moore 14, Arnold 13, Bumgardner 6, Chestnut 6, Vittetow 6, Long 4
Cascade 27, South Putnam 35
Cascade 10, South Putnam 13
Cascade 18, South Putnam 15
Next Game: South Putnam hosts Southmont Saturday.