Dry spell dooms South Putnam at Owen Valley
SPENCER -- The South Putnam Eagles had a cold shooting stretch during the second and third quarters on a warm Friday night at Owen Valley, and that stretch proved to be the difference in a 51-41 loss to the Patriots.
The Eagles were outscored 15-1 from midway through the second quarter to halfway through the third period. South had a 15-14 lead and when the scoring drought ended, the Eagles were down 29-16.
The Eagles never let the Patriots get rolling to put the game away, though. According to head coach Greg Dean, the Eagles played pretty well defensively.
“Overall, I thought we did some good things defensively. Fundamentally, we did a better job. We were a lot better tonight,” Dean said as his Eagles fell to 5-15 on the season. Owen Valley improved its record to 7-14.
The Eagles kept pace with Owen Valley in the first quarter. The Eagle defense kept the Patriots off-balance and Allen Plunkett had eight of his game-high 22 points in the quarter. The Eagles led 11-10 before a late runner by Robert Herrington put the Patriots up 12-11 at the end of the stanza.
The Eagles took the lead early in the second quarter. Steven Schnepp hit a free throw, Kain Gregory had a layup, then Plunkett added another free throw. The Eagles led 15-14, then the Eagles went cold. Owen Valley scored the final nine points of the half and went to the locker room with a 23-15 lead.
“I thought we did a lot of good things early in the game. We kept attacking,” Dean said.
Owen Valley’s Jonah Arthur scored six of his 14 points in the early part of the third quarter as the Patriots extended their lead. South couldn’t get a shot to go down until a Thomas Fanning three-pointer with 5:04 left in the third, Owen Valley led 29-19 at that point, but the Eagle offense just couldn’t find its rhythm. The Eagles would only get one more bucket in the quarter, a Plunkett three-pointer with a minute to play. The Eagles trailed 36-22 going into the fourth quarter.
“We dug ourselves a little hole in the third quarter,” Dean said. “We concentrated all week of working on the fundamentals of being in the right spots, but we had a little stretch where we weren’t doing that very well.”
South wouldn’t go away, though. The Eagles began cutting into the lead early. Six quick points by Plunkett and a layup by Schnepp brought the Eagles within eight points, 38-30. The Patriots took a timeout to settle down and stemmed the Eagle run a little.
The foul discrepancy on the night began to show up. The Patriots got into the bonus early in the fourth quarter and began to get to the line to keep the Eagles from getting too close. Owen Valley hit 11-of-15 free throws in the fourth quarter, senior Michael Light doing the damage, hitting 11-of-12 from the stripe himself.
The Patriots would need those free throws. Owen Valley began concentrating its defensive effort on Plunkett and that allowed Fanning to take over. The sophomore guard began penetrating and getting to the rim. He scored seven of his 10 points in the quarter as he drove the lane several times and finishing with a layup, a foul or both.
“We have been preaching that we have to get to the rim,” Dean said. “I thought Thomas did a better job late in the game. He got a couple of buckets and a couple of ‘and one’s’.”
The Eagles couldn’t quite get all way back. They cut the lead to 47-41 with :20 left, but four straight free throws by Light set the final margin.
Light led the Patriots with 20 points, while Arthur added 14. Plunkett led all scorers with 22 points and Fanning chipped in with 10.
The Eagles will play their final home regular-season of the game tonight, as they will host the North Vermillion Falcons.
SOUTH PUTNAM (41) – Schnepp 1-3 2-4 4, Fanning 4-10 1-2 10, Plunkett 7-23 4-7 22, Watson 0-1 0-0 0, Scott 1-5 1-2 3, Gregory 1-1 0-0 2, Zeffel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-43 FG, 8-15 FT, 41 TP.
OWEN VALLEY (51) – Herrington 2-4 3-5 7, Wrightman 3-5 0-0 6, Light 3-8 13-14 20, Heckman 1-1 0-0 2, Arthur 7-11 0-1 14, N. Boyd 0-1 0-0 0, Wood 1-2 0-0 2, Arms 0-0 0-0 0, C. Boyd 0-0 0-0 0, Mauder 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-33 FG, 16-20 FT, 51 TP.
South Putnam 11 4 7 19 – 41
Owen Valley 12 11 13 15 -- 51
3-point shooting – SP 4-13 (Fanning 1-4, Plunkett 4-14 Scott 0-1), OV 1-6 (Light 1-4, Boyd 0-1, Wood 0-1). Rebounds – SP 25 (Schnepp 7, Fanning 1, Plunkett 7, Scott 4, Gregory 2), OV 28 (Herrington 4, Wrightman 2, Light 3, Heckman 4, Arthur 10, N. Boyd 2). FG Pct. – SP 32.6, OV 51.5. FT Pct. – SP 53.3, OV80.0. Turnovers – SP 13, OV 10.
Next game — South Putnam (5-15) hosts North Vermillion tonight in its final home game of the regular season. Owen Valley improves to 7-14.
In other Friday boys’ action:
• Greencastle 61, Southmont 42 -- At New Market, the Tiger Cubs used a 13-4 third quarter to break open a reasonably close game and win for the third time in the last four games.
The Tiger Cubs got eight first-quarter points from both sophomore Gavin Bollman and junior Colin York to take an 18-12 lead at the first stop, and a nearly even standoff in the second quarter saw the Tiger Cubs hang on to a 32-25 lead. Greencastle led 45-29 after three periods and coasted to its eighth win of the season.
York finished with 25 points to pace the Cubs, while Bollman added 14. Devin Clar added nine points and Nick Costin contributed seven.
“I thought we were excellent tonight defensively,” Greencastle coach Bryce Rector said. “Southmont can really put up points, and we did a great job of defending them and limiting them to one shot per possession. As a team we did a great job on [Cam] Chadd and [Kaleb] Swick and were great on the boards, winning the boards 23-14.
“We preach defensive intensity and winning the rebounding battle every game and tonight we did that.”
Rector noted that York’s 25 points came on just 14 shots, and Bollman hit seven of nine from the field while also grabbing 10 rebounds.
“We moved very well tonight and knocked down shots,” he said. “Colin was incredibly efficient and Gavin was also outstanding in the paint tonight and finishing around the rim.”
Rector noted that Southmont put on a lot of defensive pressure, and his backcourt handled it well.
“Devin Clar was really good on the point and both Nick and Alex Costin were fantastic in handling pressure and getting us flowing offensively,” he said. “We are starting to play well at the right time of the year and are looking forward to two really tough games this week. Hope we can carry some momentum into sectionals and keep things moving in the right direction.”
GREENCASTLE (61) – York 10 1-2 25, Wade 0 2-2 2, Clar 3 3-3 9, A.Costin 0 0-0 0, N.Costin 3 0-0 7, Matthews 1 0-0 2, Hutchison 1 0-0 2, Bollman 7 0-0 14, Lucas 0 0-0 0, Wood 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 FG, 6-7 FT, 61 TP
SOUTHMONT (42) – Scheidler 1 0-2 2, Glancy 1 0-0 3, Stanley 0 0-0 0, Chadd 5 2-2 12, Roach 0 0-0 0, Easter 1 0-0 3, Howard 1 0-0 3, VanCleave 4 2-2 10, Swick 3 0-0 7, Cassidy 1 0-2 2. Totals 17 FG, 4-8 FT, 42 TP
Greencastle 18 14 13 16 – 61
Southmont 12 13 4 13 – 42
3-point goals – Greencastle: York 4, N.Costin 1. Southmont: Glancy, Easter, Howard, Swick.
Next game – Greencastle (8-12) hosts Owen Valley on Tuesday. Southmont fell to 9-10 on the season.
• Covington 70, North Putnam 61 — At Covington, a sluggish start doomed the Cougars, who saw their two-game win streak snapped by the Trojans.
North Putnam scored just six points in the first quarter to trail by seven and found themselves down 36-22 at halftime.
Better scoring output did little to stem the tide in the second half as the Cougars dropped their fourth straight in the series with the Trojans.
North Putnam 6 16 23 16 — 61
Covington 13 23 19 15 — 70
Next game – North Putnam (9-13) closes the regular season when it hosts Christel House Academy this evening. Covington improved to 14-6 on the season.