Big first quarter spells disaster for South Putnam against Clay City

Wednesday, February 1, 2012
South Putnam's Leanna Masters scored eight points against a tough Clay City defense Tuesday.

An explosive first quarter by visiting Clay City, in particular guard Carmela Roeschlein, proved to be too much for the South Putnam Eagles to overcome. The Eagles fell to 12-7 on the season with the loss.

Clay City's Roeschlein connected was 5-of-6 from three-point range for 15 points and helped propel the Eels to a commanding 25-12 lead after one quarter.

South Putnam head coach Lindsey Blackman put a plan together to stop the Eels from penetrating, but she didn't account on the Eels shooting 75 percent from beyond the arc to open the game.

"I take the blame for that," Blackman said. "(I) watched them on field, thought if we could contain penetration by playing a zone we'd have a better chance at staying with them. So I told them (team) I'll take that. I got them in a hole defensively and they proved me wrong that we could hang with them playing man because as soon as we changed to that, really, we played with them.

"I knew they had a good guard core and I knew they thrive on penetration, so we in practice worked on containing penetration, which we able to do for the most part. That first quarter, their outside shooting percentage just killed us," Blackman said.

South Putnam settled down in the second quarter and limited Roeschlein to just two points and were outscored 10-7 to trail at the half 33-19. The Eagles' Leanna Masters was held scoreless in the first half as the Eels clogged the middle and played a physical game down low.

The Eagles' fortune turned around in the third quarter as they outpaced Clay City 11-10 and kept attacking the Eels. Masters was able to get in the scorebook, netting four points. Jenny Thompson also knocked down a three-pointer to keep the offense going.

South Putnam continued to battle throughout the fourth quarter, with Masters scoring four points to lead the Eagle offense. Dabkowski, Mattie Varvel, Nikki York and Mallory Cash scored two points each, while Alex McHugh scored one point in the final quarter.

The Eels were able to keep their lead by going 13-of-13 from the free throw line in the final stanza.

Clay City did a good job of taking Masters out of the South Putnam offense for most of the night and Blackman pointed out that's something that's been happening the past few games.

"That's what she's faced the last few games," she said. "People know her know, so it's keeping her confidence up, because teams know and they want to take her away.

"They did a good job of taking her away and getting her frustrated at first. But she battled through it knowing she probably wasn't going to get the calls, but she was just going up strong," Blackman added.

The Eagles will close out their regular season on the road against North Putnam on Friday. Blackman said she expects to see the same physical play they saw on Tuesday.

"We just talked about them and ended with 'they're going to be a physical team, they're going to be scrappy,'" Blackman said. "We've struggled with that in the past and I thought today with this physical team, we finally took a step up and we matched that aggressiveness and played well.

"We got ourselves into some foul trouble, so we want to avoid that, but we know we're going to face another team who is going to be scrappy and find ways to get to the basket, because that's what they do well," she added.

Before the game, seniors Dabkowski, Thompson, McHugh and Ericka Minor were recognized for senior night.

South Putnam will travel to North Putnam Friday at 6 p.m.

At South Putnam

Clay City 23 10 10 19 -- 62

South Putnam 12 7 11 18 -- 48

Individual Scoring

Clay City -- Roeschlein 26, Drelick 15, Reed 8, Miller 3, Booe 2, Riggs 5, Wolfe 1, No. 40 2. Totals: 15-42 FG, 21-36 FT, 62 TP.

South Putnam -- Dabkowski 11, Thompson 8, Masters 8, Minor 4, McHugh 3, Jones 3, Varvel 2, Cash 5, York 4. Totals: 17-57 FG, 10-16 FT, 48 TP.