Lady Eagles overcome slow start, defeat Clovers

Saturday, January 31, 2009
Eagle senior Oceaia Boetjer navigates through traffic Friday night. Boetjer led the South Putnam with 17 points in their victory over Cloverdale.

The South Putnam girls' basketball team defended their home court for Homecoming against county and conference rival the Cloverdale Clovers Friday night, winning a close game, 65-60.

The victory was the first one for South Putnam in the WCC and eighth overall. For the Clovers it was the fourth loss in the conference and 15th overall.

"I thought it was a good team win for us," South Putnam head coach Debbie Steffy said. "Everyone who went in for us did a great job."

Cloverdale coach James Wade agreed, saying South Putnam "has a really great team."

The Clovers top scorer, senior Kristin McCammon edged the Eagles' top scorer, senior Oceaia Boetjer, with 18 points to Boetjer's 17. Clover senior Elizabeth Cheatham was next with 16 points for the evening. But that wasn't enough to beat the Eagles.

If the whole game had gone like the first quarter, the Clovers would have scored an upset victory against the Eagles. Cloverdale scored an impressive 18 points to the Eagles 12 in that quarter.

McCammon hit back-to-back threes with two free throws from Allie Franklin and a three from Kayla Shepherd while the Eagles only put up three points worth of free throws for the first 2:78 of the quarter.

Then Kelsey Searles gave South Putnam a bucket, but Franklin scored next for Cloverdale with two free throws followed by teammate Sam Rightmyer with a basket.

The Eagles' Oceaia Boetjer hit a three followed by a bucket by her sister Brooke and then Sarah Burnham scored the last basket of the quarter at the buzzer.

Elizabeth Cheatham scored the last three points of the quarter for the Clovers with a basket and a free throw.

The Eagles took the lead in the second quarter, outscoring Cloverdale 20-11. Burnham got the quarter started for South Putnam after watching Holly McCammon score first for the Clovers.

South went on a run, though, scoring the next 10 points, six of which came on a pair of threes.

The run made the big difference in the quarter, as the Eagles ultimately outscored the Clovers 22-11 in the fram for a 32-29 halftime advantage.

South Putnam held Cloverdale to their halftime score for the first 2:64 of the third quarter, during which Jessica Thompson knocked down a three and Oceaia Boetjer, Emily Dabowski, and Brooke Boetjer each had two-point hoops.

Then Franklin scored two free throws for Cloverdale, followed by the first of five baskets for Cheatham. Cheatham would be the only Cloverdale player to score for the rest of the quarter.

Burnham scored for the Eagles plus Jenny Thompson and Oceaia Boetjer each had two free throws.

The score at the end of the third quarter was Eagles 47, Clovers 41.

Oceaia Boetjer started off the fourth with a three-pointer for South. Kristin McCammon and Shepherd scored the next four points while Burnham and Searles put up three free throws for South Putnam between the two of them.

Brooke Boetjer scored four points with a regular basket and two free throws, with points also coming from Searles, Dabkowski, Thompson and Burnham.

On Cloverdale's side Cheatham scored once, McCammon hit two threes then a regular basket and a free throw later, Rightmyer scored a bucket, and Shepherd scored the last basket of the game at the buzzer.

But the Eagles had a five-point victory

For Steffy, one of the highlights of the game was the performance of the team's freshmen.

"Our freshmen played really well especially down the stretch," Steffy said. "We finished out the game with four freshmen on the floor and a senior for most of the fourth quarter. I thought they did a pretty good job of handling the pressure and it was good for them to get experience in a big game like this in that situation."

Another highlight was the older Boetjer. "I thought Oceaia stepped up really big for us tonight as far as scoring some points and taking the ball to the basket."

Even in the loss, Wade found some positives for a team that's struggled this season.

"I thought our girls played extremely hard," said Wade. "We struggled defensively a little bit. I don't think we were moving our feet as much as we should have been, but hats off to South Putnam. Down the stretch we had some opportunities and I think tonight it was our defense. I think we scored more points tonight than we have all year and offense seemed to be working well; we just did not get any stops and that's what hurt us.

"I think as a team we played well. We had some pretty good senior leadership tonight," he added. "We're really improving and we've got a goal in mind for the end of the season. That's what we're striving for. "

Next up for Cloverdale is a Tuesday game at Shakamak starting at 6 p.m.

Next up for South Putnam is a make-up game at Greencastle tonight.

At South Putnam

Cloverdale 18 11 12 19 -- 60

South Putnam 12 20 15 18 -- 65

Cloverdale -- K. McCammon (17), Franklin (8), Shepherd (12), Rightmyer (4), Cheatham (16), H. McCammon (3)

South Putnam -- B. Beotjer (10), Searles (9), O. Beotjer (17), Burnham (12), Jessica Thompson (8), Jenny Thompson (3), Dabowski (6)

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