Eagles drop third straight
EMINENCE -- Free throws can make a big difference in high school basketball.
On Tuesday night the Eminence Eels scored 27 of their 64 points from the charity stripe as they defeated the South Putnam Eagles 64-56 in a non-conference game. The Eels shot an astounding 33 free throws in the second half, converting 25 of them. The Eagles were whistled for 31 fouls on the evening and had five players retire to the bench with five personals.
They also had to play long stretches without numerous players due to the foul situation.
“We had (due to foul trouble) to play some people in different positions and that led to more fouls and they converted,” South Putnam head coach Greg Dean said as his Eagles fell to 5-14 on the season.
The Eagles put themselves in a hole early. Eminence jumped out to a 15-5 lead early in the first quarter. The Eels consistently were open for easy shots. Eminence had three rebound baskets and four layups in the quarter, ending the period with a 20-12 lead.
“In the end, we didn’t get enough stops. They scored 20 points in the first quarter,” Dean said. “We’ve got to keep people out of the paint and get a foot on the baseline. We didn’t do a good job of that tonight.”
South rallied in the second quarter, using a 9-0 run in the period to tie the game at 26-26 and finally forging ahead late in the stanza to finish with a 30-29 halftime advantage. Thomas Fanning hit two big treys in the period and Allen Plunkett had eight of his game-high 32 points for the Eagles.
The two teams battled evenly during the third period as the Eels managed to crawl back on top. Shawn Michaelis scored 10 points for Eminence as it scored six of the last eight points in the quarter and led 43-39 heading into the final quarter.
The Eels entered the double bonus late in the third quarter. That proved to be telling as they went to the line time after time.
South trailed 49-43 with five minutes left, then Wes Lesko hit a free throw and Plunkett would score five straight points, the last three on an old-fashioned three-point play.
This tied the game at 49-all, but the Eels continued to get to the foul line and pulled away using an 11-3 run to spell the difference in the game.
Eminence hit 17-of-21 shots from the charity stripe in the quarter to improve its record to 7-13 on the season.
“It was a physical game. One of our goals was to win the rebounding war,” Dean said. “I don’t believe we did that. They got a lot of second chances that led to fouls on us.”
Eminence had two players in double figures. Michaelis and Bo Mehringer scored 21 points each for the Eels. Justin Glidden added nine as the Eels hit better than 50 percent (18-of-34) from the field.
The Eagles only had one player in double figures as Plunkett had his second straight game with over 30 points as he led all scorers with 32.
The Eagles, playing short-handed with Austin Arnold out due to sickness, got a lift from freshman Kain Gregory. He didn’t score but pulled down five rebounds and gave the Eagles some energy in their second quarter run.
“Kain came in and in his first real varsity minutes played well,” Dean said.
The Eagles were just a little off all night and missed some chances. The Eagles hit 20-of-48 from the field and 12-of-17 from the line, but lost turnover battle 16-13 and the rebounding battle 29-25.
“We had our opportunities at times. The ball would bounce that way and we went the other way,” Dean said.
The Eagles will try and snap a three-game losing streak on Friday night as they travel to Owen Valley.
SOUTH PUTNAM (56) – Schnepp 0-1 0-0 0, Fanning 2-5 0-0 6, Plunkett 12-26 6-10 32, Watson 0-0 4-4 4, Scott 2-8 1-2 5, Lesko 2-2 1-1 5, Zeffel 1-2 0-0 2, Gregory 0-2 0-0 0, VanSickle 0-0 0-0 0, Heavin 1-2 0-0 2, Blue 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-48 FG, 12-17 FT, 56 TP.
EMINENCE (64) – Michaelis 4-5 13-19 21, Hightower 1-4 3-4 5, Lacy 2-6 0-1 4, Glidden 3-5 2-2 9, Mehringer 6-10 9-11 21, Webb 0-1 0-0 0, Muse 2-3 0-2 4, Sims 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-34 FG, 27-39 FT, 64 TP.
South Putnam 12 18 9 17 – 56
Eminence 20 9 14 21 – 64
3-point shooting – SP 4-13 (Fanning 2-4, Plunkett 2-7 Scott 0-1, Heavin 0-1), EHS 1-8 (Hightower 0-1, Lacy 0-1, Glidden 1-1, Mehringer 0-3, Webb 0-1, Muse 0-1). Rebounds – SP 25 (Schnepp 3, Plunkett 5, Scott 5, Lesko 1, Gregory 5, ) EHS 29 (Michaelis 4, Hightower 4, Lacy 1, Glidden 4, Mehringer 9, Webb 1, Muse 2) FG Pct. – SP 41.7, EHS 52.9. FT Pct. – SP 70.6, EHS 69.2. Turnovers – SP 16, EHS 13.