ROACHDALE -- North Putnam's girls played solidly from start to finish, shot brilliantly from the field and had a substantial edge rebounding to earn a 56-44 victory over Cascade in a West Central Conference basketball game Saturday on the Cougars' court.
"It's the first game all season we've played well in all four quarters," North Putnam coach Kevin Smith said. "It's nice to get a team win."
North Putnam (5-10, 1-2 WCC) made 67.7 percent (21-of-31) of its field goals including 5-of-8 3-pointers. The Cougars also out-rebounded the Cadets (5-11, 2-3 WCC) 35-23.
"We executed what we wanted to execute," Smith said. "We had to defend No. 33 (Alex Morgan), they run their offense through her, and we had a pretty good night. I'm proud of how we rebounded."
The Cougars' zone defense surrounded Morgan, a 5-foot-11 junior who can play inside or outside, with regularity when she touched the ball. Morgan shot 4-of-19 from the field and scored nine points.
North Putnam's defense did a pretty good job on the rest of the Cadets, too. Cascade shot 26.6 percent (16-of-60) from the field, 2-of-18 on 3-pointers.
Carlye McGaughey made four straight three-pointers to close out the first half, taking North Putnam from a 19-16 deficit to a 28-19 advantage.
The 5-foot-8 junior had 17 points on 6-of-7 field goals including 4-of-5 3-pointers.
"Carlye shot the ball for the second night in a row," Smith said. "She moved well without the ball and we found her."
McGaughey forced Cascade to abandon its favored 3-2 zone defense for a man-to-man in the second half and it opened up the inside for Cougars' center Taylor Alles.
Alles, a 5-foot-10 senior with a soft shot and the ability to put the ball on the floor, scored 11 of her 16 points in the second half. For the game, she made 6-of-9 field goals and was 4-of-8 at the free throw line. Alles also had seven rebounds.
"Cascade likes to play their 3-2 zone and when you're down nine or 10, it's kind of hard to stay in the zone,' Smith said. "Taylor did a pretty good job catching the ball and squaring up in our man offense. I'm most pleased with the fact we shared the basketball well. We didn't have many forced shots and we had 18 assists. That's a five-year high for us."
North Putnam's only difficulty was turnovers at midcourt against Cascade's trap. The Cougars had 24 turnovers, the Cadets seven.
Smith inserted Elsiana Crosby to get the ball into the offense in the second half and she was effective in reducing North Putnam's turnovers. Crosby also scored all eight of her points in the second half.
"Elsiana came in and did a nice job," Smith said. "She has a lot of experience and plays a lot of positions for us."
Ahead 30-27, North Putnam extended its lead to 36-29 at the end of three quarters on a drive by Alles, a fast break lay-up by Elsiana Crosby and an off-the-dribble 10-foot jumper by Crosby.
The Cougars pulled out to a 42-30 led in the fourth quarter on a basket inside by Alles and two 2-point field goals by Leah Crosby.
North Putnam scored steadily from there, leading by at least 11 points the rest of the way.
The Cougars play tonight at North Vermillion.
Cascade 12 7 10 15 -- 44
North Putnam 10 18 8 20 -- 56
Stephenson 2-3 0-0 4, Stewart 2-15 0-0 5, Morgan 4-19 0-0 9, Arnold 3-6 4-6 10, Sallee 2-10 2-2 6, Suter 1-4 4-9 6, Smith 2-3 0-0 4, Totals 16-60 10-17 44.
NORTH PUTNAM (56)
L. Crosby 3-4 0-1 6, Alles 6-9 4-8 16, McGaughey 6-7 1-2 17, E. Crosby 3-4 2-2 8, Malayer 1-1 2-4 5, Robinson 2-5 0-2 4, Frye 0-0 0-0 0, Kumaran 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 21-31 9-19 56.
3-point field goals -- Cas 2-18 (Stewart 1-10, Morgan 1-2, Arnold 0-1, Sallee 0-5), NP 5-8 (McGaughey 4-5, Malayer 1-1, Robinson 0-1, Kumaran 0-1). Rebounds: Cas 23 (Morgan 7), NP (L. Crosby 10, Alles 7, Robinson 5). Turnovers: Cas 7, NP 24. Total fouls: Cas 16, NP 15. Fouled out: Sallee.