SPEEDWAY -- After trailing by just two points at the half, the South Putnam girls' basketball team saw Speedway open the third quarter with a 15-2 run that essentially put the game out of reach.
The Sparkplugs outscored the Cougars 30-16 in the second half and won the contest 52-36.
For the Cougars (6-12, 3-2 WCC), the loss put the WCC title out of reach. Speedway (13-5, 4-1 WCC) hosts Cloverdale (15-4, 4-1 WCC) in what amounts to the conference title game Friday.
"(Speedway) came out in the third quarter and hit a couple of quick shots and we didn't respond very well. They seemed to become more aggressive and we became less and less aggressive. That seemed to be the way the second half went," Smith said.
The fourth quarter was only slightly better than the third, as the Sparkplugs outscored the Cougars 15-10.
The highlight of the night for North Putnam came at the end of the first quarter, as Carlye McGaughey hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Cougars their first lead of the game at 11-9.
However, the Sparkplugs battled back in the second to take a two-point advantage into the locker room.
McGaughey was the Cougars' leading scorer with 10 points. Kara Tierney's 16 paced the Sparkplugs.
The Cougars now turn their attention to South Putnam, their opponent in Friday night's WCC finale. However, they know they will also face Speedway again in next Tuesday's sectional opener. Smith said they will have both contests on their mind in the coming days.
"South Putnam's a conference game, a county game and another sectional team, so we're always up to play South Putnam. That is going to determine our standing in conference," Smith said.
"But we're also going to be focusing on Speedway as well," he continued. "With the conference out of our hands at this point, the next thing we do is turn and look at sectional. This is a team that stands in our way and we need to figure out how we're going to beat them."
The Cougars host the Eagles at 6 p.m. Friday.
North Putnam 11 9 6 10 -- 36
Speedway 9 13 15 15 -- 52
North Putnam (6-12, 3-2 WCC) -- McGaughey 4-11 0-0 10, Johnston 2-10, 4-9 8, Alles 3-9 0-0 6, E. Crosby 2-3 0-0 4, L. Crosby 2-4 0-0 4, Malayer 2-4 0-0 4, Kumaran 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 15-42 FG, 4-9 FT, 36 points.
Speedway (13-5, 4-1 WCC) -- Tierney 4-13 7-9 16, Prior 6-17 1-1 13, Anglea 4-8 3-4 11, Miller 1-7 6-6 8, Hubbard 0-0 2-4 2, Jones 1-5 0-0 2, Walton 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 16-51 FG, 19-24 FT, 52 points.
Turnovers--NP 22, Sw 10. Total fouls--NP 14, Sw 10. Fouled out--E. Crosby (NP).
Next game -- North Putnam hosts South Putnam at 6 p.m. Friday.