After a slow opening period, North Putnam took a seven point halftime lead over South Putnam and proceeded to hand the Eagles a 61-33 loss in the second game of the Putnam County Tournament.
The Eagles started off quickly, gaining a 7-3 lead midway through the first quarter before the Cougars began to slowly get into the game.
Though down 10-8 after one period of play, North Putnam began to dictate play, limiting the Eagles to seven shots in the second frame and only giving up five points.
It was at the start of the second half where the Cougars flexed their basketball muscles.
A 10-0 run in the first 2:15 of the third period blew the game open, thanks to a big performance from James Hedrick.
The North Putnam senior ripped off seven straight points in one stretch and put up 15 in the quarter to seal the contest for the Cougars.
At the same time, South Putnam went ice cold from the field, only making one of their 16 attempts in the same period.
The poor shooting extended into the next quarter, seeing the Eagles shoot 5-of-33 in the second half.
Combined with the Cougar's efficiency late in the game, South Putnam would not be able to mount any sort of comeback and will have to wait to record its first victory of the year.
Cougar head coach Nathan Martindale was pleased afterward with his squad's quick turnaround between seasons.
"I love our athleticism, our determination, our grit. It's been difficult with the football run. These football guys have done a tremendous job for us these last five days, getting themselves ready for county," Martindale said.
"Early on, it was a struggle. I was assuming, with the long layoff that we had we were going to come out a little flat and we did. But then we picked it up and that's what I love about these kids. They hate losing and that's something we've been known for the last few years and it's time to change that.
"We made a pretty good statement tonight of what we're capable of doing," he continued. "We've still got a lot of work we need to take care of, but we're excited to be in the championship game tomorrow night."
Eagles head coach Micah Elliott was visibly disappointed with the evening's result.
"We didn't rebound the ball like we know we can. We gave up too many second chance opportunities. In the first half I thought we got down and played defense pretty well," Elliott said.
"As long as our offense was playing well, our defense was playing well and when we stopped making shots, I thought we, maybe, put our heads down and felt sorry for ourselves a little bit. We didn't shoot the ball very well.
"There were a couple of kids out their who really worked hard and hustled," he said. "We need five guys out there with the same common goal, wanting the same thing. We'll find that combination," Elliott added.
The Eagles play Cloverdale in the consolation game tomorrow night starting at 6:30 p.m. Elliott had a couple of things in mind that needed to improve before the second game for South Putnam.
"We've got to block out and rebound. Hit some free throws. We shot 50 percent from the free throw line. We missed a lot of front ends of one-and-one's that would have kept the game close in the second quarter and answered their runs," Elliott said.
"We've got to take better shots and knock shots down. We're going to go try and do those things tomorrow."
Martindale, meanwhile, was high on confidence heading into the championship tilt with Greencastle.
"I think we've got to control the boards, control the hustle points. You don't want them to get easy, scrappy points off us. We've got to deal with (Jesse) Tesmer and (Nick) Hutcheson on the inside, and I think our guys are capable. We're hungry," Martindale said.
"They're confident a lot more this year than they were last year and I think we'll be able to give them a good game tomorrow night."
Putnam County Tournament
South Putnam 10 5 6 12 -- 33
North Putnam 8 14 24 15 -- 61
Shooting -- South Putnam - 10-51; North Putnam - 25-51
Free Throws -- South Putnam 11-22; North Putnam 9-16
Three Pointers -- South Putnam 2 (Arnold, Freeman); North Putnam 4 (Hedrick 3, Porter)
South Putnam -- Arnold 9; Freeman 8; Hammond 4; Bumgardner 4; Gibson 4; Hewitt 2; Varvel 1; Zimmerman 1
North Putnam -- Hedrick 23; Lucas 11; Wiltermood 8; Porter 8; Stewart 5; Muse 4; Everts 2