Eagles claim fifth place in WIC with big victory
CLAYTON — The South Putnam Eagles avenged an earlier loss to the Cascade in girls’ high school basketball Friday night. The Eagles defeated the Cadets 49-41 in a tough, physical contest that boosted the Eagles to fifth place in the Western Indiana Conference.
The victory in the crossover game improved the Eagles to 15-5 on the season. South had lost to the Cadets 55-52 on Dec. 16.
This could also be a precursor to another meeting as the two teams both play in Class 2A Sectional 44.
“We told the girls that it’s not often you get a chance to play at your sectional site twice in the season. We get this opportunity and we really played well,” South Putnam head coach Brian Gardner said.
The two teams played an intense and physical brand of basketball all night long. The game wasn’t always pleasing to the eye from a style standpoint, but the intensity was typical of a tournament game. The first half saw the two teams combine to shoot 22 (10-of-45) percent from the floor and commit 15 turnovers. Neither team could find their offensive stride as they only combined for 31 total points in the half.
“We didn’t make very many shots in the first half. Tournament play is usually more physical, maybe not this physical, but we fought through it. I was really proud of how we handled it,” Gardner said.
The Eagles jumped out early in the game to an 8-2 lead and held off the Cadets to close the first quarter with an 11-9 lead. Lillie Stein and Lexi Vanihel provided the offense for the Eagles with 6 and 5 points, respectively.
The second period was even more of an offensive struggle as both teams couldn’t get shots to fall. The Eagles were able to maintain their lead and go to the locker room with a 17-16 edge.
The Eagles opened the third quarter making a concerted effort to get the ball inside to Caitlin Capps. The junior post was able to maneuver around the hoop to score seven third-quarter points.
The Eagles were able to stretch the lead during the period as they kept their defensive pressure up and finally hit some shots. South made 8-of-14 from the floor in the quarter and headed into the fourth quarter with a 34-27 lead.
“We talked a lot about throwing the ball into the post. It really helps when we go inside and Caitlin did a nice job of scoring in the second half,” Gardner said.
South didn’t allow the Cadets to get any closer than seven points the rest of the way. The Eagles repeatedly forced Cascade into difficult shots. The Cadets only shot 27.5 percent from the field for the game as South’s defense prevented the Cadets from getting easy buckets.
“They have some really good shooters. We knew we had to get (Olivia) Bryant and (Hannah) Rasnake off the three-point line and force them to shoot difficult twos. We really did a nice job of that tonight,” Gardner said.
Eagles calmly and efficiently closed the game out by patiently maintaining their lead during the period. The Eagles only turned the ball over 10 times in the game as they finished it out for the final 49-41 margin.
“I really felt that we handled the physical play and kept our composure tonight. To only turn the ball over 10 times in a game this physical is really good. Our kids really played well,” Gardner said.
The Eagles were led by Stein with 18 points and Capps with 11. During the game, Stein picked up her 1,000th career point. The senior guard overcame a probable broken nose to reach the milestone.
“I couldn’t have done it without all my teammates and coaches. Coach Gardner, my AAU Coach Tudor. It’s really special,” Stein said.
The Eagles will await their sectional draw on Sunday and then travel to North Central (Farmersburg) on Monday for a non-conference game.
SOUTH PUTNAM (49) – Bieghler 3-10 2-2 8, Bratcher 0-3 1-2 1, Vanihel 3-9 0-0 7, Capps 5-8 1-3 11, Stein 9-17 0-3 18, Hill 1-2 0-0 2, Custis 1-2 0-0 2 Nichols 0-1 0-0 0, Egold 0-0 0-1 0, Steffy 0-0 0-0 0, Burdge 0-0 0-0 0, Mahoney-Sutherland 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-52 FG, 4-11 FT, 49 TP.
CASCADE (41) – O. Bryant 1-7 6-8 9, Rasnake 1-13 3-4 5, Norris 1-3 2-2 4, E. Bryant 2-5 1-2 5, Hostetler 0-0 1-2 1, Gibbs 1-2 1-2 3, S. Bryant 0-2 0-0 0, Cleveland 2-3 0-0 6, Parsons 0-0 0-2 0, Schmidt 3-5 1-2 8. Totals 11-40 FG, 15-24 FT, 41 TP.
South Putnam 11 6 17 15 — 49
Cascade 9 7 11 14 — 41
3-point shooting – SP 1-11 (Bieghler 0-2, Bratcher 0-2, Vanihel 1-3, Stein 0-4, Capps 0-1), CHS 4-20 (O. Bryant 1-6, Rasnake 0-7, E. Bryant 0-1, Schmidtt 1-2, S. Bryant 0-1, Gibbs 0-1, Cleveland 2-2). Rebounds – SP 31 (Bieghler 5, Bratcher 5, Vanihel 6, Capps 3, Stein 5, Hill 3, Custis 1) CHS – 36 (O. Bryant 1, Rasnake 2, Norris 4, E. Bryant 7, Hostetler 8, Schmidt 5, S. Bryant 2, Cleveland 2) FG Pct. – SP 42.3, CHS 27.5. FT Pct. – SP 36.6, CHS 62.5. Turnovers – SP 10, CHS 16.