GREENCASTLE -- With the girls' sectionals less than a week away, county rivals North Putnam and South Putnam met for one final tune-up.
As with any county rivalry game, Thursday night's match-up was hard fought by both clubs. The Cougars of North Putnam came out on top, though, by a final score of 49-39.
"This was just your typical county game," said Jim Brothers, North Putnam girls basketball coach. "We jumped out on them early and just hung on the rest of the way.
"Both teams played really hard tonight."
On a couple of occasions the Eagles of South Putnam tried to make a game of it cutting the lead down to six, but that was all the closer they could get.
"We didn't shoot the ball well tonight," said South Putnam head coach Debbie Steffy. "We put ourself in a hole that we couldn't dig out of."
The Eagles battled through the pressure defense of the Cougars all night, having to fight to get the ball up the court. The Cougars' pressure didn't let up though, once the Eagles' got the ball past half court.
The Eagles had to work for every shot as the Cougars pressured them with their zone defense. Sophomores Brooke Boetjer and Jenny Thompson led the way for the Eagles with 13 points each.
They were the only two Eagles in double figures.
Steffy said her team also fell short rebounding the ball.
"We are usually a pretty good rebounding team," she said. "They did a good job of keeping us off of the offensive boards though."
Leading the way for the Cougars was Carlye McGaughey with 18 points, keeping the game out of reach for the Eagles with 12 points in the second half. Also scoring in double figures for North Putnam was Megan Robinson with 16 points on the night.
"I was pleased with our balanced scoring effort by the girls tonight," said Brothers. "We made critical baskets at critical times to keep the lead."
Heading into sectionals next Wednesday, both coaches are looking to their girls to finish the season strong. The Eagles and Cougars have tall tasks ahead of them as they try to avenge losses from earlier in the season.
Both coaches agree, though, their teams have gotten better since the losses.
North Putnam will take on Tri-West in the first game Wednesday night. South will play in the second against Speedway.
"We have to come out and play our best game of the year," said Brothers. "As long as we go out and give it our best effort that's all that matters."
Going into the game Brothers said, his team needs to cut down on the silly mistakes and turnovers to have a chance.
Steffy said she is going to focus on taking care of the ball this week in practice before Wednesday.
North Putnam shot 43 percent on the night from the field, while South shot 30 percent. The Cougars shot well from the charity stripe in the first half, making eight of 10, but fell off in the second half only making three of seven. South Putnam shot 61 percent from the line.
At South Putnam
North Putnam 10 18 13 8 49
South Putnam 4 15 8 12 39
North Putnam -- McGaughey 18, Robinson 16, Crosby 5, Asbell 4, Pinney 3, Stephenson 2, Frye 2. Totals 16-37 FG, 11-17 FT, 49 TP.
South Putnam -- Boetjer 13, Jenny Thompson 13, Dabkowski 8, Jessica Thompson 2, Jones 2, Searles 2, Minor 1. Totals 12-39 FG, 13-22 FT, 39 TP.