Debbie Steffy is developing a legacy at South Putnam High School

Monday, January 16, 2006

Debbie Steffy is developing a legacy at South Putnam High School.

She was honored Friday as the District 1 Girls' Basketball Coach of the Year, as voted by her fellow coaches. Steffy was presented the award Friday following South Putnam's 38-30 win over Greencastle at South Putnam.

"It's a great honor for our school and our program," Steffy said. "A lot of people have put in a lot of hard work in our program, and I've been able to work with a lot of great people."

Steffy coached the South Putnam girls' basketball team to a 24-1 record last season, leading the Eagles to an undefeated regular season. And with a win over the Tiger Cubs Friday, the Eagles are now 35-5 the past two seasons.

"It goes back a lot further than just two years," she said. "We've had a lot of great kids come through here. Anybody will tell you, you're not going to be a great coach unless you've got great players. "

After a sluggish first half, Steffy's players put together a solid second half to defeat the Tiger Cubs Friday.

Meghan Canary led South Putnam with 12 points, while Bailey Birt added 10 points in the game. Jessica Canary had eight points, six rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

The Tiger Cubs came out looking strong, taking a 10-6 lead into the second quarter. Greencastle's Stefanie Masten was 3-of-3 in the quarter, while freshman point guard Cassie Alspaugh had three assists in the quarter.

"The first half, we got easy, open shots," Greencastle Coach Glenn Hile said. "They had no answer for us."

The Tiger Cubs shot 5-of-11, while South Putnam shot just 3-of-13 in the opening period.

"I thought the first half we played a little sluggish," Steffy said. "I'll give Greencastle credit on that. They made us uncomfortable. We were trying to play to try to be comfortable, and we just couldn't do it."

In the second quarter, Greencastle quickly stretched the lead to 12-6 off an Olivia Miller two-point bucket.

However, South Putnam answered with an 10-2 run that was punctuated by Birt driving the baseline for two points, giving the Eagles a 16-14 lead.

After a Laura Weatherford free-throw, South Putnam went into halftime with a 16-15 lead.

"The second half, we came out and played with a different type of intensity," Steffy said. "We played like we really wanted the ball game."

South Putnam started to press the Greencastle offense, forcing four turnovers in the third period, and outscoring the Tiger Cubs 9-6.

Greencastle led 21-18, when Masten connected with Grace Fisher for a pullup jumper from the free throw line.

However, Meghan Canary responded with a three-pointer to tie the game, and Oceaia Boetjer provided a spark off the Eagle bench, making two steals, both of which were converted for buckets.

"Second half they turned the pressure up on us a little bit," Hile said. "We could never get in our offense."

The Tiger Cubs got as close as four points at 27-23 two minutes in the second quarter, but once again, Meghan Canary hit another big three-pointer, giving South Putnam a seven-point lead.

The Tiger Cubs could never recover.

"Bottom line, second half, Meghan Canary hit those two shots," Hile said. "That was the difference in the game."

Weatherford led the Tiger Cubs with nine points, while Masten added eight points. Center Kyrian Marshall had a game-high 11 rebounds.

South Putnam improves to 11-4 on the season, while Greencastle falls to 6-10. South Putnam plays at Monrovia Friday at 6 p.m., while the The Tiger Cubs play at Cloverdale Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Greencastle lost to Cloverdale 40-35 in the opening round of the Putnam County Tourney.

"That won't be easy for us either. Cloverdale got us early," Hile said. "They caused us some matchup trouble. It will be another game like this one."

As for South Putnam, with a lead in the West Central Conference, Steffy is looking for more accolades to add on her impressive resume.

"We've got to take care of our own fate," she sad. "We don't want to rely on anybody else. So we've got to play well in these conference games."

At South Putnam

Greencastle 10 5 6 9 -- 30

South Putnam 6 10 9 13 -- 38

Greencastle -- Fisher 1 0-0 2, Robertson 1 0-2 3, Miller 1 0-0 2, Alspaugh 1 0-0 2, Weatherford 4 1-3 9, Marshall 2 0-2 4, Masten 4 0-2 8. Totals FG 14, FT 2-9, TP 30.

South Putnam -- M. Canary 4 2-3 12, J. Canary 3 2-2 8, Stanifer 0 0-0 0, Birt 4 2-2 10, Boetjer 1 0-0 2, Booe 2 0-2 4, Mink 1 0-1 2. Totals FG 15, FT 6-10 FT, TP 38.

3 pt. -- Greencastle 1 (Robertson 1), South Putnam 2 (M.Canary 2), Rebounds -- Greencastle 24 (Marshall 11), South Putnam 26 (Booe 7), Assists -- Greencastle 11 (Robertson 3, Alspaugh 3), South Putnam 8 (J. Canary 5), Steals -- Greencastle 7 (Alspaugh 2, Weatherford 2), South Putnam 8 (J. Canary 2, M. Canary 2, Boetjer 2), Blocks -- Greencastle 1 (Marshall 1), South Putnam 5 (J. Canary 3).

Next game -- South Putnam plays at Monrovia Friday at 6 p.m., while Greencastle plays at Cloverdale Tuesday at 6 p.m.

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