By KEITH BODNARICK
In what might have been the most entertaining girls' county matchup of the year, North Putnam survived a furious South Putnam comeback to emerge with a three-point victory, 49-46, Saturday afternoon.
A see-saw first quarter ended with the Cougars on top, 11-10, thanks to two three pointers from Carly McGaughey. McGaughey ended up 4-5 from downtown for the game, finishing with 13 points.
South found some offensive rhythm in the second quarter, as Meghan Canary answered McGaughey's hot hand with three treys on three consecutive Eagle possessions near the end of the half to pull South Putnam even, 27-27, at the break.
The third quarter concluded with both teams knotted at 36, as North committed six turnovers and South found itself unable to capitalize, going just 3-13 from the field.
The Cougars began to assert themselves in the fourth quarter, as they opened with a 9-0 run. South Putnam did not register their first points until Oceaia Boetjer connected with 2:36 remaining. At the 1:46 mark, North led 46-38, and seemingly needed only to run out the clock.
A minute and three North Putnam turnovers later, however, eradicated the Cougar lead, and the game was tied at 46. A crucial bucket by Dakota Malayer with 30 seconds left gave North the lead, 48-46. Taylor Alles then hit the front end of a one-and-one to extend the margin to three, 49-46, setting up a final Eagle possession.
As the ball was handed to South on the change of possession, a time out was awarded to North Putnam coach Kevin Smith, even though the ball was clearly in the hands of the Eagle in-bounder. South Putnam coach Debbie Steffy was livid, but was unable to convince the official to change the call. Steffy, when questioned about the call after the game, stated, "The call didn't beat us...it should have never come to that, but it sure didn't help."
Boetjer was able to get a decent look to attempt to tie the ballgame, but her attempt was short, and North Putnam escaped with the win.
North Putnam coach Kevin Smith was encouraged by his team's execution: "I thought the key to the game was our ability to continue to hit the post. Our poise was good for most of the game, except for that minute stretch at the end,"
Steffy was said simply, "They played well...they outplayed us."
North Putnam (7-13, 4-2 WCC) was led by Shawna Johnston with 15 points. Alles added 13. They will face Speedway at 7:30 on Tuesday in sectional play. South Putnam (9-11, 1-5 WCC) was paced by Canary's game-high 20 points and will take on Cloverdale in the 6:00 game of the Cascade sectional on Wednesday.
at North Putnam
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Tot
South Putnam 10 17 9 10 46
North Putnam 11 16 9 13 49