School’s out: A reflection Part 2

By Brandon Bush

 

This week, we continue going over some of my favorite sports moments from the 2017-18 school year. If you haven’t read last week’s column, be sure to check it out before reading on to find out which moments from this year I talked about in our last issue.

That being said, let’s not waste any time and jump into a new collection of memories from the past year.

Putnam County girls basketball falls to Model, 70-64

You might be wondering why I’ve decided that a loss is one of my favorite sports moments from this year. After all, there should be no shortage of great moments for a 20-win basketball team.

However, the reason I look back on this first-round exit fondly is because I saw one of the greatest fourth quarters of basketball I have ever seen from the Lady Eagles that night. Putnam trailed by a 49-33 deficit after three quarters of play and yet, in the face of getting knocked out of the first round of state by 16 points, the team rallied to bring the game back within just 6 points.

Rykia Pennamon, who had 27 points, five rebounds, a steal and made 80 percent of her free throws that game, was a huge factor in the Lady Eagles’ rally. Although Putnam’s fantastic season ended prematurely, the Lady Eagles showed some guts in that fourth quarter when a lot of teams would have already folded much sooner.

I expect the Lady Eagles to be in the neighborhood of another 20-win season next year and, given what I’ve seen from them this year, make another run at the coveted state title.

Putnam County girls soccer defeats Oglethorpe, 6-0

Two of my favorite moments this year happened on the same day, but we’ll get to that later.

Putnam County’s cup ran over in soccer this year, and most of those successful nights began with the Lady War Eagles coming up strong. The Putnam girls team did a lot of good things this year, but there is one that stands out among the rest. An early match this season saw Putnam throttle region opponent Oglethorpe County, 6-0.

While I legitimately enjoyed my time at the game and had fun watching the Lady Eagles come up with a big win, it didn’t become one of my favorite moments from this year until recently. In case you weren’t aware, that same Oglethorpe team that Putnam smashed went on to finish 14-4-1, win region and compete in the GHSA Class AA girls soccer state championship.

Hindsight is 20/20; nobody at the time could have known how big of a victory this game was. However, the fact remains the Lady Eagles blew out one of the two best teams in AA girls soccer. With a ton of young talent returning for next year, the Lady Eagles could be winning more games by six goals over tough teams next year.

Believe it or not, it was only half of the excitement that night. 

Putnam County boys soccer defeats Oglethorpe, 2-1/Brenton Nelson’s game-winner

If you read the column I wrote about this game a while back, you might recall that soccer has been one of the slowest sports to catch my interests through the years. While I was comfortable enough to consider myself a fan by the time this game rolled around, this match solidified the game for me.

Like their female counterparts, the Patriots were a stout team coming into this game. However, unlike the girls game, this region faceoff was a close one from start to finish.

Brenton Nelson, who already picked up the War Eagles’ first goal of the game, pulled off a feat you only see in movies; with only seconds remaining in the game, Nelson sank a game-winning goal to put the Eagles ahead, 2-1, and notched one of many region wins.

Little did I know at the time that this would be just the beginning of the many feats that the War Eagles would accomplish this year – from their second consecutive Viking Cup victory to their undefeated region record to surviving four thrillers in a row in the postseason. However, I don’t think anything will top this moment for me from this great season of soccer.

I’ve seen great things from soccer at all levels, and I’ve seen many great moments in the history of the sport, so I don’t know why Nelson’s shot is the single most impressive event in soccer to me. All I know is it gave me a true appreciation for the sport and kicked off the few months I spent following the War Eagles on this wild ride of a season.

I’ve covered most of my favorite moments across these two columns, but I will be doing one more column on this topic next week. I need the entirety of the space to properly describe my all-time favorite moment from the 2017-18 school year.

Until then, thank you for reading and I’ll see you next week.

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