South Putnam scores big homecoming win

Saturday, January 29, 2011
South Putnam's Kelsey Whitaker (32) battles Cloverdale's Paige Sinks (left) and Sydney Shrum in the first half of Friday's homecoming victory.

GREENCASTLE -- When South Putnam and Cloverdale tangled in the third game of the season, it was the Eagles who came away with a narrow 40-37 victory. South Putnam entered Friday's homecoming contest with the desire to show they weren't the same team the Clovers faced back on Nov. 20.

When all was said and done, South Putnam had recorded its second win of the season with a commanding 48-23 win over the Clovers.

"It was a good win for us," Eagle head coach Debbie Steffy said. "Our kids played hard. That's the thing I like about our kids, they always go out and they do it the right way. And it really paid off for them tonight in a big win for us. It was a big game and a big crowd -- it was very, very exciting as far as the kids were pumped up for this game.

"I can't say it enough, that I appreciate these kids come out here and they do it the right way every time we step on the floor," Steffy added.

While the score might not reflect it, the game was a close one in the first half. Cloverdale trailed only by two after one quarter and by just four at the half.

The Clovers came into the contest with some much improved play and in the first half they showed they could hang with the Eagles. They used a balanced attack to keep pace with the host Eagles, but South Putnam was able to maintain its advantage for the rest of Friday's game.

Leanna Masters led the Eagles with nine points, with Jenna Jones adding six. Paige Gruener was the top scorer for the Clovers with five. Teammate Sydney Shrum chipped in four first half points.

However, the second half saw a different Cloverdale squad take the court and that's when things began to go south for the Clovers. The Clovers failed to get their offense going and head coach Tom Anderson pointed out it boiled down to a single word -- effort.

"There's only one word that explains what happened and that's effort," Anderson said. "We've been giving great effort the last few games. (Against) Eastern Greene we just fought our hearts out against a very physical team. North Putnam we really fought hard and gave a lot of effort.

"Tonight there just wasn't any effort," Anderson continued. "They didn't bring any enthusiasm with them and from the get go there just wasn't any movement. We just got murdered on the boards and that's just lack of effort -- don't block out, don't go for the ball."

As the Clovers offense cooled off, South Putnam's began heating up. Jones scored six third quarter points for the Eagles and Steffy pointed out she found her groove in Friday's game. Jones scored 10 second half points en route to her game-high 16 points.

The Clovers were able to get into their offense, but had problems executing from there. Anderson said that when team is facing a zone and can get the ball in the middle, they should fare well. He noted the Eagles were literally giving the Clovers the middle and they couldn't do anything with it.

The second half saw six South Putnam Eagles score and build an advantage the Clovers couldn't overcome.

In addition to Jones' 16, Masters added 13 points with Kelsey Whitaker and Ericka Minor chipping in six each. Shrum's eight points led the Clovers, with Gruener adding seven.

The South Putnam defense was able to neutralize Cloverdale's Bristy Skiles. Normally a major threat from outside, the sophomore was only able to get off three shots, connecting on none of them. And according to Steffy that was a well-executed plan.

"That was our gameplan, obviously. Everybody sitting in here knew that. Our plan was to limit her touches, try to make her a shooter off the dribble, don't let her set up and our kids did a great job," Steffy said.

South Putnam will travel to Clay City, while the Clovers will travel to Shakamak to close their season. Both game are Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

At South Putnam

Cloverdale 7 7 1 8 -- 23

South Putnam 9 9 14 16 -- 48

Individual Scoring

Cloverdale -- Shrum 8, Gruener 7, Nally 4, Sinks 2, Woodworth 2. Totals: 9-55 FG, 4-8 FT, 23 TP.

South Putnam -- Jones 16, Masters 13, Whitaker 6, Minor 6, Cash 2, McHugh 2. Totals: 20-60 FG, 8-10 FT, 48 TP.