MONTEZUMA -- The South Putnam boys' basketball team took the trip to Riverton Parke High School to take on the Panthers on Saturday night. The Eagles went home happy with a win, 68-57.
It was a physical battle and the Eagles led throughout.
"I'm proud of our effort," SPHS coach Troy Burgess said. "I'll take an ugly win over a pretty loss anytime."
Both teams started out slow, but the early similarities didn't stop there.
Both put up a lot of shots in the first quarter, and both missed most of them. Both protected the ball very well; each team had only two turnovers.
Despite the slow start, the Eagles were very aggressive and physical in the first half.
So physical that the Panthers had to send guard Kole Sanders and forward Daniel Organ to the bench with three fouls apiece in the second quarter.
The Eagles had the lead at intermission, 27-23.
The second half started and before the crowd could blink the Eagles extended the lead to 10, 33-23.
Junior Sawyer Arnold made two three-pointers in the first minute of the second half and South Putnam looked on the verge of running away with the game.
Arnold finished with 21 points to lead SPHS, but it wasn't over yet.
The Panthers fought back on the shoulders of Matt Haltom's 29 points.
The Eagles were up ten to start the fourth quarter and looked like they had the game in hand, 44-34, but with five minutes left Panther Brandon Bovair nailed a corner three to cut the lead to two.
"Defensively we did some things well, but I think (Riverton Parke) over-scrapped us a little bit on the defense end," Burgess said.
The fourth quarter started to get chippy as both schools' fans began questioning some of the officials' calls.
Eventually, two of Riverton Parke's starters, Organ and Sanders, fouled out. With less than five minutes to go the Eagles were on the prowl.
With Organ removed, the Eagles successfully pounded away inside to go on a 21-12 run to end the game.
"I was proud of our kids," Burgess said.
The Eagle will wrap up their West Central Conference schedule in their next game on Friday, Feb. 1. They host North Putnam at 7:30 p.m.
At Riverton Parke
South Putnam 12 15 17 24 -- 68
Riverton Parke 9 14 11 23 -- 57
South Putnam: Arnold 21, Bumgardner 15, Moore 14, Chestnut 6, Franklin 6, Vittetow 4, Long 2.
Riverton Parke Haltom 29, Bovair 12, Sanders 4, Edge 3, Mathas 3, Organ 3, Wilson 3.
Team scoring (three-pointers)
SP 17-48 (3-9) 25-29 68, RP 12-42 (5-25) 18-25 57.
SP 37, RP 31.
SP 13, RP 7.