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The Mounties forced 16 first-half turnovers, controlling the pace of the game and flustering the South Putnam offense.
The Eagles were overwhelmed by the Mounties half-court trap and ball pressure, rarely getting an opportunity to feed the ball into the post to use their size as an advantage.
SPHS took an early 3-2 lead when senior Justin Bumgardner completed a traditional three-point play at the 6:26 mark in the opening period, but the lead didn't last.
Mounties junior Devon Burton and senior Drake Cooksey turned up the intensity and forced the Eagles' ball handlers into difficult situations, forcing passes and picking up their dribble near midcourt.
"We didn't handle the pressure at all," SPHS head coach Troy Burgess said. "We've had two opportunities now against very good teams that have really gotten out and pressured us in Danville and in Southmont, and we haven't handled it.
"For us to be as good as we want to be, and get to where we want to be, we've got to handle that better."
Southmont led 24-10 after the first quarter, but the second was even more dominant.
Burton finished the first half with three steals and 18 points, going six-for-nine from the field.
Cooksey had four steals and 10 points himself.
"We've got a lot of quick guys. We've got to play to that," Southmont coach Jon Sparks said. "The guys did a real good job with that. I wish the second half had been as good, but it's hard to keep up with that intensity."
The teams went to the break with Southmont leading 41-14.
SPHS finally emerged from the locker room with less than a minute on the halftime clock.
They had a new game plan and a new lineup.
Junior Derrick Mitchell started in place of Bumgardner, who picked up technical foul in the first quarter and remained on the bench for the rest of the game.
Mitchell, a guard, also gave the Eagles more ball handlers on the court to try to get around the press.
The Eagles became more deliberate, slowing the game down and making careful decisions.
The new pace allowed them to get inside and they began drawing fouls. Down big, scoring with the clock stopped can be an equalizer.
Southmont committed nine fouls in the third quarter, allowing SPHS to go eight-for-eight on free throw attempts, but still managed to play even.
Burton tacked on 10 more points, giving him a game-high 28.
The Eagles finally made some headway in the fourth, but by then it was too late.
"We played hard in the second half," Burgess said. "I was proud of our kids. They didn't quit; they didn't let down. They continued to play hard."
Junior Trey Moore had a team-high 16 points and remained in attack mode until the final buzzer.
The Eagles lone advantage in the game came on the glass as they outrebounded Southmont 34-22.
"I've got to do a better job as a coach of preparing my guys to get them ready for this type of game," Burgess said. "I'll put this one on me tonight. I didn't have our guys prepared for that type of pressure."
Preparing for quickness in practice will be a challenge for the Eagles, and Burgess said he'll have to get creative.
"I know these guys will work hard; they'll do what I ask them to do," Burgess said. "We're going to have to create (quickness) somehow. As a coach, that's my job to figure out how we can simulate that, and how we can create that type of an atmosphere so we're ready.
"We're going to see it again next Friday night."
The Eagles return against Rockville on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
At South Putnam
Southmont -- 24 17 14 11 -- 66
South Putnam -- 10 4 14 13 -- 41
Southmont: Burton 10-17, 4-6, 28; Cooksey 10-14, 0-4, 15; Thomas 2-8, 4-4, 10; Dinius 3-5, 0-0, 7; Stewart 1-1, 1-2, 3; Dehne 1-3, 1-3, 3; McCormick 0-1, 0-0, 0; Benge 0-0, 0-0, 0; Remley 0-0, 0-0, 0; Whalen 0-2, 0-0, 0; Truncone 0-1, 0-0, 0.
South Putnam: Moore 6-9, 4-4, 16; Arnold 2-8, 3-4, 7; R Chestnut 1-6, 2-2, 4; Pell 1-3, 0-0, 3; Bumgardner 1-2, 1-3, 3; Long 1-3, 1-4, 3; Franklin 1-4, 1-4, 3; D Chestnut 0-1, 1-2, 1; Vittetow 0-2, 0-0, 0; Mitchell 0-0, 0-0, 0; Carmichael 0-0, 0-0, 0.
Southmont 22-45, 15-24, 66; South Putnam 13-37, 13-23, 41.
Southmont 22 (4); South Putnam 34 (13).
Southmont 13, South Putnam 26.