The No.1 killer in a basketball team is turnovers and the Lady Cougars found that out the hard way Tuesday night as they lost their season opener to Crawfordsville 55-33.
Thirty seven times North Putnam turned the ball over, with several of those turnovers resulting in transition points for the Lady Athenians.
"Turnovers is an issue that we have," NPHS coach Jim Brothers said. "We have to take better care of the ball. We have to take ownership of the in as well and be ready to receive the ball.
"We just can't be throwing the ball around the gym," Brothers added.
The Lady Cougars were keeping it close in the first quarter trailing 8-6, but in a matter of 1:30, the two-point lead turned into an 11-point lead when Crawfordsville converted two North Putnam turnovers into two three-point baskets back-to-back, followed by a jumper and a free throw on its next two possessions.
In the second quarter, the Lady Cougar offense continued to lag, but their defense wasn't half bad. North Putnam held the Lady Athenians offense to a standstill for the first 3:40, until Courtney Hamilton sank both freebies on a 1-and-1 shot. North Putnam held Crawfordsville to only nine second period points, while scoring seven of their own, trailing 26-16 at the half.
But that didn't last.
Crawfordsville came out of the gate swinging at the start of the second half, going on a 9-0 run. North Putnam didn't score a basket until the 2:00 mark in the third quarter when Maggie Pinney sank a pair of free throws after getting fouled on her shot.
Crawfordsville outscored the Lady Cougars 16-7 in the third and thought they could switch to a zone defense. They were wrong.
As soon as the Lady Athenians switched, North Putnam pitched it to the outside to Caryle McGaughey, who drained back-to-back treys. The Lady Cady cougars opened the quarter with an 8-2 run, but fatigue started to set in and Crawfordsville cruised to the end.
"We have an a lot of inexperienced players that are playing some varsity minutes now that nave never played varsity before," Brothers said. "The girls played hard. We played harder on the defensive end that we did on the offensive end and we have to have a better balance than that."
McGaughey led North Putnam with 13 points, with Megan Robinson adding 11 points, while Shelby Frye and Elsiana Crosby chipped in four points each.
North Putnam is back in action on Thursday when it hosts Danville, with the junior varsity tipping off at 6 p.m.
At North Putnam
North Putnam 9 7 7 10 -- 33
Crawfordsville 17 9 16 13 -- 55
North Putnam -- Crosby 2 0-0 4, Pinney 0 4-4 4, Robinson 5 0-5 11, Malayer 1 0-4 2, McGaughey 4 1-1 13 -- 14 33 5-14 33
Crawfordsville -- Justs 4 0-0 10, Grimble 1 0-0 2, Wethington 0 1-2 1, Gasaway 4 6-11 16, Barr 0 1-2 1, Hamilton 4 4-8 12, Johnson 1 1-2 3, Elliott 5 0-0 10 -- 55 19 13-25 55
3-pt -- McGaughey 3 NP, Justus 2 (CV), Gasaway 1 (CV). Steals --McGaughey 1 NP, Robinson 1 NP, Grundy 1 CV, Gasaway 2 CV, Hamilton 3 CV, Elliot 1 CV. Blocks -- Gasaway 1 CV. Turnovers -- NP 37, CV 29.
Next Game -- North Putnam is back in action on Thursday when it hosts Danville with the junior varsity tipping off at 6 p.m.