Cloverdale head coach Tom Anderson said the Cougars did a good job of attacking his team at its weakness.
"The outcome is disappointing because this was a team we had beaten," he said. "I had a feeling they would probably press us, they didn't when they played us before and they know that's our weakness. That's where we got to improve on taking care of the basketball, but I really thought we played better than that."
After one quarter, North Putnam had secured an 11-0 lead and held the Clovers without a point until 6.8 second left before halftime. Katie Fulkerson hit 1-of-2 free throws to account for the Clovers' lone point of the half.
North Putnam on the other hand put up 20 points, with Maggie Pinney leading the way with six and Samantha Lucas adding five. The Cougars dominated every aspect of the game in the first half, never allowing the Clovers to come within 15 feet.
Cloverdale was content on shooting from outside, but its shooters were unable to find their stroke and watched as the Cougars' lead got out of hand. The Clovers went into the half down 20-1.
With a starting lineup comprised of all sophomores, it would have been easy for Cloverdale to pack it in and begin making plans for next year. Instead, they came out in the second half with a newfound fire and showed what kind of a team people can expect next year.
The second half looked more like their previous meeting with the team's trading baskets. North Putnam continued to attack down low, but Cloverdale began to find its own ways of getting the ball in the hoop.
The Cougars led 31-13 and were outscored by the Clovers 12-11 in the quarter. Paige Gruener and Amillia Nally combined for 10 points to lead the third quarter charge.
Cloverdale once again out-produced the Cougars in the final quarter to the tune of 15-9, but North Putnam's stellar first half gave them enough of a cushion to hold on for the win.
Anderson was optimistic after seeing the turnaround from his team in the second half. He began to see the team he knows has been there all along and hopes it will carry over to next season.
"The thing I told the girls was we didn't quit," Anderson said. "It could have been easy to lay down and just say 'It's been a bad year, heck with it, we'll go home...'. They played hard and Bristy (Skiles) finally hit some at the end so hopefully that'll carry over and give her a little confidence.
"Sydney Shrum, in the second half I said 'You may have found yourself.'" That girl did some things she hadn't done all year. Dribble the ball full court and lay it up -- she hadn't done that. She started really battling hard on the inside and made some defensive plays," he added.
He also spoke about the improvements of other players, specifically his starting backcourt of Nally and Gruener.
"A lot of girls showed some things the second half that we've been looking for. It's just too bad that we didn't come out that way. Maybe this experience will help," Anderson said.
North Putnam connected on 18 free throws on the night, with Samantha Lucas leading the way with 11 points and Maggie Pinney chipping in eight.
Cougars head coach Jim Brothers was unavailable for comment following the game.
North Putnam will face Covenant Christian Friday at 6 p.m.
Class 2A Sectional
Cloverdale 0 1 12 15 -- 28
North Putnam 11 9 11 9 -- 40
Cloverdale -- Nally 8, Gruener 7, Shrum 6, Skiles 6, Fulkerson 1. Totals: 11-40 FG, 1-6 FT, 28 TP.
North Putnam -- Lucas 11, Pinney 8, Me. Robinson 6, Frye 3, Asbell 4, Kientz 3, Mo. Robinson 3, Aynes 1, Matthews 1. Totals: 8-36 FG, 18-32 FT, 40 TP.
Next game -- North Putnam will face Covenant Christian Friday at 6 p.m. at Cascade.