Shooting woes doom Eagles
Shots struggled to fall for the South Putnam girls' basketball team Tuesday night as Rockville supplied the Eagles their first loss of the young season, 35-34.
Nothing resembled that more when South Putnam (2-1) had the chance to either tie or win the game with .2 seconds remaining, and with Katie Hewitt at the foul line. However, Hewitt failed to connect on either of her two shots as Rockville grabbed the final rebound and watched time expire.
The Eagles shot just 20 percent from the floor (11-for-55) and from 3-point range (4-for-20). They also shot 62 percent from the foul line (8-for-13).
They took 24 more shots than Rockville, who finished 12-for-31 for 39 percent. The Lady Rox also did not shoot a single 3-pointer of their own.
South Putnam coach Brian Gardner said his team settled for outside shots.
"That tends to hurt you, especially when you're not hitting shots," Gardner said. "When you don't attack the rim, you put a lot of pressure on your defense to do everything for you and to keep you in the game. For the most part we were in the game and had a chance to win it in the end."
Despite the shooting woes, South Putnam led for the majority of the game. Rockville took its first lead since the first quarter midway through the third at 24-22. The Rox held that and expanded it to 31-25 in the opening minutes of the fourth.
"Defensively, we were doing a lot of gambling which caused a lot of pressure for us to help on the back side," Gardner said. "And so it tends to be a 5-on-4 situation instead of a 5-on-5, and they got a lot of their points when that happened."
South Putnam showed some life soon after, starting a 7-0 run that put the Eagles back in the lead at 32-31.
"We started to get the ball in the post in the fourth quarter and good things started to happen," Gardner said.
Rockville regained the lead at 33-32 heading into the final minute of the game, which saw two more lead changes in the final 30 seconds.
South Putnam capitalized on a late miss and retook the lead a 34-33 when Maddie McHugh grabbed the defensive rebound and found Lillie Stein down the court for the easy layup.
Yet, on the next trip down Rockville's Morgan Black made a turnaround jumper on the right block to put the Rox back ahead at 35-34 with 5.3 seconds remaining.
On South Putnam's next possession, Stein missed a turnaround jumper of her own but Hewitt cleaned the glass and drew the foul with .2 seconds remaining.
"[Hewitt] put us into the position to be able to [win] because of the way she plays and by putting herself in the right position," Gardner said.
Stein led the Eagles with a game-high 17 points. She also pulled down eight rebounds.
Rockville (1-0) was led by Black's 16 points.
"You can't win every game but there's a lot of things for us to work on going forward," Gardner said.
The Eagles return to action Friday when they host Edgewood.
At South Putnam
Rox 6 10 12 7 -- 35
SP 8 10 7 9 -- 34
Black 4-7 8-10 16, Pratt 1-4 1-3 3, White 1-5 1-4 3, Breedlove 2-3 0-2 4, Carrington 1-4 0-0 2, Secuskie 3-7 0-0 6, Frazier 0-2 1-2 1, Pierce 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-31 11-20 35.
South Putnam (2-1)
Bieghler 2-16 2-2 7, Modglin 0-3 0-0 0, McHugh 1-7 0-0 2, Hewitt 0-3 3-6 3, Stein 7-21 0-0 17, Nichols 0-1 0-0 0, Carmichael 1-3 3-5 5, Capps 0-0 0-0 0, Bratcher 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 11-55 8-13 34.
3-Pointers_R 0-0, SP 4-20 (Stein 3, Bieghler 1); Rebounds_R 35 (Secuskie 8), SP 45 (Stein 8); Assists_R 7, SP 6; Turnovers_R 19, SP 17.