Greencastle's 2-3 zone and full court press forced North Putnam into 28 turnovers, as they cruised to a 64-42 victory. The win completed a sweep of Putnam County and kept the Lady Tiger Cubs a perfect 5-0 in the West Central Conference.
Greencastle (11-7) clinched at least a share of the WCC crown.
"I thought tonight, defensively, we did a pretty good job from the start all the way up until the end," Key said. "Defense is really what we've been pushing in practice."
Finding himself on the short end of the score, NP coach Jim Brothers said the Lady Cougars (5-12, 1-3 WCC) need to realize attacking a zone is a whole different beast.
"We didn't make the zone shift at all," Brothers said. "We kept it on one side and didn't make the zone move back and forth. That's how you attack a zone -- you make the zone shift side to side and then look to go. We wanted to make one pass to one side and then keep it there and think somebody was going to be open."
Both teams had their struggles with ball control early, as North turned it over 10 times in the first quarter, and Greencastle committed six.
The Lady Tiger Cubs were able to take control of the game inside, though. They simply wouldn't allow the ball into the lane, either converging on Cougar entry passes or not allowing them at all.
They also controlled the boards, both on the offensive and defensive end.
"Our big thing is, don't let anyone get a second shot -- if a shot goes up, we've got to block out," Key said.
The coach praised his frontcourt for its gritty play.
"Taylor Pruitt was blocking out. And Chelsea Samuels -- sometimes everything she does isn't in the stat sheets. It's the other things -- changing shots, staying down low," Key said.
Samuels finished the night with seven points, all of which came while the game was still tight.
Taking a 15-8 lead into the second quarter, GHS built it to 29-15 at the half.
With the lead well in hand, the GHS offense opened up further after the break, and the guards took control. The backcourt trio of Mallory Miller (19 points), Tennille Burgeson (16) and Alyssa Nichols (15) combined for 50 of the team's 64 points on the night.
"Mallory Miller always does what Mallory Miller does. She had four threes. That's awesome," the coach said. "Tennille and Alyssa did a great job of handling the ball, getting the ball to the middle and then coming up with buckets.
"Alyssa caught fire tonight, which is good to see. We knew she could," he added.
Nichols was 4-of-4 from beyond the arc.
While North Putnam got better on turnovers after the opening quarter, they continued to struggle with the ball. Brothers wants to see his team reduce the unforced errors as they move forward.
"We had 28 turnovers; those mostly are just bad decisions not forced turnovers," Brothers said. "I thought we played hard tonight. We didn't give up; we were down 20 points and didn't quit.
Megan Robinson came off the bench to lead the Cougars with 11 points.
The evening belonged to the home team, though. As sectional approaches, the Lady Tiger Cubs are heading in the direction they want.
"They've bought into what I'm selling," Key said. "I thought it was a pretty good team win. That's what I'm most proud about for my girls."
North Putnam 8 8 10 16 -- 42
Greencastle 14 15 18 17-- 64
North Putnam (5-12, 1-3 WCC) -- Robinson 4-8 3-5 11, Frye 2-6 5-5 9, Asbell 2-5 2-2 6, Pinney 2-4 0-0 4, Crosby 1-3 2-2 4, Lucas 1-1 1-2 3, McGaughey 1-5 0-0 3, Malayer 1-1 0-1 2, Stephenson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 14-35 FG, 13-17 FT, 42 points.
Greencastle (11-7, 5-0 WCC) -- Miller 6-11 3-4 19, Burgeson 4-11 8-11 16, Nichols 5-8 1-2 15, Samuels 3-7 1-2 7, Beck 1-1 0-0 3, Pruitt 1-2 1-2 3, Wainman 0-5 1-2 1, Babington 0-1 0-0 0, Nobles 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 17-48 FG, 15-23 FT, 64 points.
3-pt. FG--NP 1-9 (McGaughey 1-5, Robinson 0-2, Crosby 0-1, Frye 0=1), GHS 9-20 (Nichols 4-4, Miller 4-7, Beck 1-1, Burgeson 0-3, Nobles 0-2, Wainman 0-2, Babington 0-1). Turnovers--NP 28, GHS 13. Total fouls--NP 16, GHS 14. Fouled out--None.
Next game: Greencastle visits Indianapolis Manual on Tuesday, with JV set to tip off at 6 p.m. North Putnam visits Speedway at 6 p.m.