Plunkett scores 33 to pace Eagles by Eminence

Sunday, December 2, 2018

EMINENCE -- The South Putnam Eagle basketball team traveled to Eminence on Saturday night on the heels of a disappointing county loss to North Putnam the night before. The Eagles responded with a hard-fought 58-53 non-conference victory to improve to 2-1 on the season.

Eminence fell to 2-3 for the year.

“We talked about it (NP loss). You’ve got to have a short memory. You can’t hang your head, you have to keep playing and working,” South Putnam head coach Greg Dean said.

The Eagles used six-foot-six Allen Plunkett on the inside for most of the game to dominate the paint. The senior had a game-high 33 points as the Eels couldn’t match up with the size in the first half as Plunkett poured in 23 of those points before halftime.

“We were going to have a size and athleticism advantage and we could outrebound them if we put ourselves in a good position,” Dean said.

The Eagles used that to outrebound Eminence 40-30 on the night. Rebounding was key as the Eagles still struggled shooting the ball. They hit 21-of-56 shots from the floor and only 2-of-17 from behind the three-point line.

South jumped out to quick advantage as it went on a 9-2 run to open the game with seven of those points coming from Plunkett. The Eels showed their mettle, though, by rallying to take a 15-14 lead late in the quarter before a Thomas Fanning three put the Eagles up 17-15 after period number one.

The two teams battled throughout the second quarter, with neither one gaining more than a four-point advantage. Plunkett continued to have his way inside, but the balanced Eels matched South basket for basket.

The Eagles couldn’t shake the gritty Eels as Eminence had five players score in the second quarter and South was hanging on to a precarious one-point lead, 33-32 as it went to the locker room.

“In the first half, we got our hands on a lot of balls, but we couldn’t come up with them,” Dean said.

Eminence put a small run together to start the second half. The Eels scored the first six points of the half to take a 38-33 lead early in the third quarter. South hung tough, but Eminence behind a combined 13 points from Julian Webb and Matt Sims led 47-44 at the end of third period. Dalton Scott led the way for South with five points in the quarter.

Austin Arnold scored four of the first six points for the Eagles during a 6-0 run to start the fourth quarter. “He’s (Arnold) an energy guy, he’s got good athleticism and is pretty versatile on both the offensive and defensive sides.

The Eagles would only trail once more as they clamped down defensively on the Eels in the fourth quarter. South held Eminence to just six points on 2-of-11 shooting in the final stanza and held the Eel’s leading scorer, Shawn Michaelis to just four second half points.

The Eagles managed to hit enough free throws combined with their defense to hold on for the victory. That defensive effort keyed the win according to Dean.

“We held their best player (Michaelis) under his average and to only four points in the second half. A lot of people drew the straw, Austin Arnold did a great job on him, Dalton (Scott) had it some and Lane Watson had him for a stretch. The kids came out and worked hard,” Dean said of his team’s defensive efforts.

Michaelis led the Eels with 16 points, while Webb added 13. Plunkett’s 33 points led all scorers and Scott added 11 points for South Putnam. Plunkett completed a double-double by picking up 12 rebounds as well.

“Allen had a big game inside," Dean said. "He also got on the floor tonight. We kept going to him and that also opened some things up for us in other places, particularly in the second half."

The Eagles will host county rival Greencastle for the Putnam County bucket next Friday night for their homecoming game.

SOUTH PUTNAM (58) – VanSickle 0-1 1-2 1, Fanning 2-7 0-2 5, Plunkett 13-23 6-7 33, Arnold 4-11 0-3 8, Scott 2-9 7-11 11, Watson 0-1 0-0 0, Gregory 0-2 0-0 0, Heavin 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-56 FG, 14-25 FT, 58 TP.

EMINENCE (53) – Webb 5-14 2-2 13, Lashbrook 1-2 0-0 2, Ringler 2-6 2-2 7, Sims 2-6 0-0 6, Michaelis 6-12 4-6 16, Bales 2-5 0-2 4, tudor 2-3 1-2 5, Kemp 0-0 0-0 0, O’Mullane 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-49 FG, 9-14 FT, 53 TP.

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3-point shooting – SP 2-17 (Fanning 1-3, Plunkett 1-5, Arnold 0-3, Scott 0-4, Watson 0-1, Heavin 0-1) EHS – 4-13 (Webb 1-3, Ringler 1-2, Sims 2-4, Michaelis 0-2, Bales 0-1, O’Mullane 0-1) Rebounds – SP 40 (VanSickle 2, Fanning 2, Plunkett 12, Arnold 9, Scott 7, Watson 3) EHS – 30 (Webb 7, Lashbrook 1, Ringler 1, Sims 3, Michaelis 9, Bales 3, Tudor 5) FG Pct. – SP 37.5, EHS 40.8. FT Pct. – SP 56.0, EHS 64.3. Turnovers – SP 10, EHS 11.