The Tiger Cubs raced out to a 10-0 lead, but they found the rim unkind and as their head coach has stated before, Greencastle came out a little flat.
Greencastle had a 12-1 lead after one quarter of play with Mallory Miller providing seven points for GHS. The Cougars struggled, going 0-of-8 from the field with its only point coming from a free throw from Morgan Robinson.
The Cougars were able to get rolling in the second quarter, scoring eight points to the Tiger Cubs' nine to enter the half trailing 21-9. Greencastle still had trouble finding the twine in the second quarter, but things would change after a talk at the break.
"Tonight again, what was funny was I told them at the half I thought our intensity was awesome at the beginning," Key said. "We were just scared of that basket. We did come out a little flat, but we've got some good senior leaders and we talked at halftime, there was no yelling or screaming, we just said 'Listen, we're fine. It's not a big deal. We're going to go out the second half and here's what we're going to do. We're going to make sure we keep playing defense.'"
Key said getting his starting point guard Alyssa Nichols into the act in the second half was something the team needed as North Putnam held Miller in check.
"At the end of the first half, I decided I wanted to get Alyssa more involved," he said. "They were taking away Mallory and they did a good job of it. We needed to get Alyssa (going) and she's pretty dynamic. She can shoot, she can drive and I said 'Alyssa, we need to take the ball to the hoop' and we kind of relaxed. At halftime it was just 'let's relax' and then from there Alyssa came out and got us going with a three and really that's what kind of sparked us."
In addition to her three pointer, Nichols scored on a short jumper and then dished to Miller for a bucket. The Tiger Cubs had six players score in the third quarter and built their lead to 45-12 after three quarters.
Samantha Lucas produced all of North Putnam's output in the third quarter, hitting a two-point field goal and a free throw. The Cougars were never able to regain the momentum they gained in the second quarter and the final stanza was still a struggle.
While Greencastle added 10 points to its lead, North Putnam managed only four points. Those points came from Maggie Pinney and Robinson.
The Tiger Cubs saw Nichols and Erynn Beck hit three pointers in the final quarter, with Taylor Pruitt adding a basket at two free throws. Miller also added two free throws as the Tiger Cubs took the Putnam County crown with its 55-16 victory.
Although the Tiger Cubs put up 55 points on the night, Key said it was the other side of the ball that made the difference.
"Last year I talked a lot about defense wins games and this year I haven't talked much about it, but tonight our defense won the game," he said. "You may look in the paper and see a big score, but it wasn't like that at all. It was a good game. Man, North did a good job of being physical like I thought they would and some of their shots didn't fall. If some of their shots (fell), it may have been a very different game."
Key said the Cougars did a good job of taking leading scoring Miller out of the game. Key has a luxury most coaches don't possess. He has team when the opposing squad takes a player out of the flow, he's able to call someone else's number.
"It's actually really nice," Key confessed. "We've talked about that a lot where I'm OK with team's focusing on Mallory, I really am. I told a couple of our players in the first half, 'I don't care if you miss 35 shots, I don't care, you're going to start hitting.' and they believe in themselves. The cool part is they practice like they know Mallory's going to be gone and they're going to be that next person up to score. I have five or six of them who are that next person up. At any point any one of them can go double figures, which is awesome to have."
With the win Greencastle moves to 5-1 on the season, while North Putnam drops to 3-2.
Greencastle will host Crawfordsville Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., while the Cougars will travel to South Vermillion Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
At South Putnam
Putnam County Tournament
North Putnam 1 8 3 4 -- 16
Greencastle 12 9 24 10 -- 55
North Putnam -- Pinney 4, Robinson 2, Asbell 4, Lucas 3, Mo. Robinson 3. Totals: 6-43 FG, 6-8 FG, 16 TP.
Greencastle -- Nichols 15, Miller 12, Samuels 7, Amis 4, Pruitt 6, Wainman 4, Earl 4, Beck 3. Total: 21-60 FG, 7-8 FT, 55 TP.
Next game -- Greencastle will host Crawfordsville Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., while the Cougars will travel to South Vermillion Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.