The North Putnam girls varsity basketball team lost a heartbreaker to the Cascade Cadets, 41-40, Friday night at home
Most of the time when you set goals and achieve them, that is a recipe for success but tonight that proved false for the Cougars.
"We accomplished everything we wanted tonight besides winning the game," Coach Kevin Smith said after the contest.
The Cougars, who had been averaging 25 turnovers early in the season, kept control of the ball and only committed 15 for the game. Good ball handling from the back court of Chelsea Green and Brook Miller helped keep the Cougars on track.
The Cougars fought hard all night and put themselves into position to walk away with a victory. Miller stole a pass and took it the length of the court to score with no time remaining in the third and left North trailing by only one going into the fourth.
In the fourth, North finally grabbed the lead when freshman Carlye McGaughey connected on one of her three three-pointers with only a minute remaining.
North tightened their defense and looked ready to take home the win but the Cougars fouled Ashley Wichman with thirty-four seconds remaining. She knocked down both free throws to give the Cadets the lead for good.
North had time for one last minute play. After calling a timeout, the inbound game to Green who put up a long jumper that didn't connect.
"That was one of three options," Smith said. "Chelsea's a good shooter and she'll knock that shot down for us."
North took control of the opening tip and scored when Miller laid a superb pass in to Shawna Johnston for the close bucket. Miller followed that up with a steal and bucket to give North a 4-3 lead. Miller continued to lead the charge hitting a long three and handing out an assist.
Defense was a big key for the Cougars on the night. North opened the night in a 2-3 zone that seemed to keep the post clogged up. North Putnam was tenacious. Every time the ball was loose on the floor, a North Putnam player was there right along with it.
The second quarter saw McGaughey catch fire. She hit all of her three-pointers in the quarter and paced the Cougars going into the half. Taylor Alles put a rebound up and in to also help the Cougars go into halftime trailing by a slight four points, 23-19.
After the half, North came out with more energy and continued to press the Cadets from all sides.
North's Green hit a three with 5:16 remaining and gave the lead to the Cougars. Cascade reclaimed the lead when Kate Miller hit a three and Kaitie Nease backed her up with a close jumper.
North Putnam saw the game slip away in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter but that didn't dim their sense of accomplishment.
"The girls are proud of themselves." Smith said. "And I am very happy with our effort."
The future looks bright for the Cougars as they have improved on every facet of their game. Diminishing turnovers and a squad of young talent rising to meet challenges ensure that North's best games are yet to come.
North will host Eminence Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 6:30 p.m.
At North Putnam
Cascade (41) - Arnold 4, Marshall 0, Miller 12, Nease 14, Wichman 8, Stewart 3. Totals FG 16 FT 4-11 TP 41
North Putnam (40) - Green 3, Miller 9, Alles 6, E. Crosby 2, Johnston 9, McGaughey 11, Peitras 0. Totals FG 17 FT 1-2 TP 40
3Pt. Shooting - Cascade 5 (Miller 4, Stewart) North Putnam 5 (McGaughey 3, Miller, Green)
Next Game - North will host Eminence Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 6:30 p.m.