Eagle girls top Mounties on mad comeback

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The South Putnam Lady Eagles capped off a furious 18-4 run to end the game Monday night with two free throws to gain a 66-65 victory over the Southmont Mounties in girls’ high school basketball action. Sophomore Caitlin Capps hit two free throws with 1.4 seconds left on the clock to improve the Eagles to 4-1 on the season.

“It was really big at the end of the game for Caitlin. She has been struggling shooing the ball for her to have the composure to go up strong, not panic, then knock down those free throws was great for her. I couldn’t be more excited for her,” South Putnam head coach Brian Gardner said.

South looked to be in trouble down 13 points with just over four minutes to play. The Eagles were down 61-48 when they took a timeout with 4:41 on the clock. Aubrey Barker hit a jumper, then Miranda Bieghler scored eight straight points for the Eagles and Capps added a bucket. They had closed the gap to 63-60.

“I told the girls at a timeout with a few minutes to play that you take it one minute at a time to get back in the game. Get a couple of defensive stops,” Gardner said. “The girls have bought in and they played hard. That is why we are never out of a game. I couldn’t be prouder of these girls fighting to get the win.”

After the Mounties added a bucket to go up 65-60, freshman Lexi Vanihel converted a steal and a lay-up kicking of the Eagles scoring the final six points of the game culminating with Capps game-winning free throws.

“I was pretty nervous. I got to the line, took a deep breath and shot it and made them,” Capps said with a big smile.

The Eagles looked to run away with the game early. South jumped out to a 19-9 lead in the first period. Behind Lily Stein’s seven points in the quarter. The lead was short-lived, however. The Mounties went on a 15-0 run during a stretch between the second and third quarters to turn a double-digit deficit into a 37-31 lead in the third quarter. Most of the damage was done by Reagan Case. The Mountie senior guard scored 17 of her game-high 27 points in those two quarters.

The Eagles turned the ball over 13 times in the second and third quarter and allowed the Mounties to shoot 16-of-31 from the floor during the span.

“We had some moments where we were allowing them to get by us. We sometimes got too physical,” Gardner said.

Case scored her last points early in the fourth quarter as the Eagle defense began to produce stops and forcing turnovers. Southmont turned the ball over eight times in the last quarter as the Eagles made their run.

The Eagles had contributions from a lot of areas to gain the victory. Bieghler led the team in scoring with 19 points. Aubrey Barker added 15 and Stein had 13 points. The Eagle bench provided quality minutes and key plays. Sophomore Whitney Boswell and freshmen Alex Bratcher and Vanihel played some of their first meaningful varsity minutes of the year.

“With Maddie McHugh (knee injury) out and Aubrey (Barker) and Miranda (Bieghler) out with foul trouble, we got big minutes from Whitney Boswell, Alex Bratcher, and Lexi Vanihel,” Gardner said.

The Eagles’ last-second victory was big for the team and season according to Gardner.

“A great win tonight. After a county loss like we had, we now get a chance to play right away and get a win. It would have been tough to lose two in a row,” Gardner said.

The Eagles are off for the Thanksgiving break, but return to action on Nov. 30 as they travel to South Vermillion.

SOUTHMONT (65) – 4-6 0-0 8, L. Ward 4-9 0-0 8, Link 1-2 0-0 2, Hess 2-6 3-4 7, Case 9-18 6-7 27, McVay 6-14 0-0 13, Remley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-55 FG, 9-11 FT, 65 TP.

SOUTH PUTNAM (66) – Bieghler 6-10 5-5 19, Barker 5-13 3-3 15, Stein 4-15 4-6 13, Nichols 1-6 2-2 4, Capps 2-8 4-5 8, Vensko 0-2 2-2 2, Vanihel 1-3 0-1 2, Boswell 1-1 0-0 3, Bratcher 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-58 FG, 20-24 FT, 66 TP.

Southmont 9 19 24 13 – 65

South Putnam 19 12 14 21 – 66

3-point shooting – SHS 4-7 (Case 3-5, McVay 1-2), SP 6-14 (Bieghler 2-3, Barker 2-4, Stein 1-6, Boswell 1-1) FG Pct. – SHS 47.3, SP 34.5. FT Pct. – SHS 81.8, SP 83.3. Turnovers – SHS 20, SP 17.

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