The North Putnam Cougars entered the tournament with only seven day's worth of practice time heading into Friday night's opening round of the Putnam County Tournament.
And after picking up a 60-43 win over rival South Putnam, it's clear that a lot can happen in just one week.
The Cougars (1-0) used a 14-5 run spanning the closing minutes of the second quarter and the early minutes of the third to blow their contest with the Eagles wide open.
"We've got kids who give a tremendous effort," North Putnam coach Wes Peek said.
In the opening minutes of Friday's semifinal contest, it looked as though the two teams might be in for a long, hard-fought game.
The score was knotted at 9-all at the end of the first quarter, as the Cougars and Eagles matched one another shot-for-shot in the opening period.
But North Putnam cut loose for 16 points in the second quarter and added another 16 in the third to push its lead to 41-28 heading into the fourth.
Jake Mullis scored six of his game-high 19 points in the fourth, a quarter which saw the Cougars lead the Eagles by as many as 21, when a free throw from Max Schrieber gave NPHS a 58-37 lead.
Despite the lopsided result, first-year South Putnam coach Brian Gardner was happy with his team's effort.
"We competed, and we played really hard," Gardner said. "That's all you can ask of these kids. If they're playing hard, then you know you can fix the other stuff."
The Eagles were led by Ben Anderson and Adam Nees, who combined to score 21 of South Putnam's 43 points.
Anderson had 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the floor and a 2-of-3 performance at the free throw stripe.
Neese connected on 5-of-10 attempts from the field.
They were the only two Eagles players in double figures, but Gardner thinks that South Putnam's game is starting to come along. Even if there are still some kinks to work out.
"I thought we played well in the half-court defense, but we've still got to get better at getting our guys in the right spots," Gardner said. "I thought we were trying to do the right things on offense. Sometimes we did it, and sometimes we didn't. That's how it goes sometimes."
The Cougars had two players finish in double figures, and another two were close.
Mullis shot 6-of-10 from the field and 5-of-7 at the line to score 19 points while Griffen Dahlstrom was 5-of-10 from the field and 1-of-2 at the free throw line to finish with 19.
Tyler Trent scored eight, and Zack Hedrick finished with nine points.
Coach Peek said that a balanced offense is something new for this North Putnam team, but it's certainly not something he's going to complain about.
"We've never had that (kind of balance)," Peek said. "We had four guys around 10 points, and that's with Brayden Dahlstrom just scoring four, and I guarantee you that's going to be his lowest point total of the year."
The Cougars will take on Greencastle for the Putnam County Championship tonight at 8 p.m. while the Eagles (0-2) will face Cloverdale in the consolation game at 6:30 p.m.
Putnam County Tournament
North Putnam (60) -- Schreiber 0-2 1-2 1, Mullis 6-10 5-7 19, B. Dahlstrom 1-2 2-3 4, Trent 2-5 3-4 8, G. Dahlstrom 5-10 1-2 11, Alcorn 3-4 2-2 8, Blaydes 0-0 0-0 0, Hedrick 3-6 3-3 9. 20-39 FG 16-22 FT 60 TP.
South Putnam (43) -- Anderson 4-8 2-3 11, Sebanc 1-4 5-5 8, Nees 5-10 0-0 10, Frame 0-0 0-0 0, Boswell 1-2 0-0 2, Parker 2-4 1-2 5, Tomaw 0-1 0-0 0, Cash 2-5 0-0 4, Hammond 1-4 0-0 3, Eickhoff 0-0 0-0 0. 15-36 FG 8-10 FT 43 TP.
North Putnam 9 16 16 19 -- 60
South Putnam 9 10 9 15 -- 43
3-pt shooting -- North Putnam 3-9 (Schreiber 0-1, Mullis 2-3, Trent 1-1, G. Dahlstrom 0-1, Alcorn 0-1, Hedrick 0-2). Rebounds -- North Putnam 23, South Putnam 17. Personal Fouls -- North Putnam 13, South Putnam 24. Turnovers -- North Putnam 17, South Putnam 19.
Next Games -- North Putnam (1-0) will take on Greencastle for the county championship today at 8 p.m. while the Eagles (0-2) will face Cloverdale in the consolation game at 6:30 p.m.