CLAYTON -- North Putnam's girls' basketball team had a tall task ahead of it when playing Covenant Christian for a chance to reach their first sectional finals appearance since 2003.
The 2A No. 9 Warriors proved to be too much for the Cougars Friday night as they fell 64-33.
Covenant Christian started off the contest hot, rattling off the first 11 points before North scored at the 2:08 mark. Though the quarter finished 14-5, the Cougars had several chances to cut into the lead in the final two minutes, but could not make them count.
After the Cougars opened the second quarter with a basket, the Warriors scored seven points in a minute to drive their lead up to 14 points at 21-7.
North Putnam continued to hang around, slowing the pace and creeping back to within single digits at 23-14 before the Warriors finished with a flourish, closing the half on a 10-2 run to take a 31-16 lead into halftime.
The third quarter proved to be the tipping point as Covenant Christian, employing a tight full court press, suffocated the Cougar offense, limiting them to four points in the period.
Simultaneously, the Warriors rattled off 21 points in the frame to net a 32-point lead heading into the final quarter of play.
Bodies shuffled in and out as both squads began to empty the benches for the last eight minutes. The Cougars were able to outscore Covenant Christian 13-12 in the final period of the season, though that came as little consolation as the clock struck zeroes.
Afterwards, Cougar head coach Jim Brothers said that the plan was in place, but the results didn't show it.
"I thought right before halftime there were some possessions where they got more than three shots at the basket and that was one of the things we talked to the girls about Wednesday and Thursday in practice. Limit them to one shot. We didn't do a very good job of that," Brothers said.
"Part of it is that Covenant Christian is very athletic. They're quick to the basketball and in those situations they hurt us because they got baskets and some of them got free throws on top of that. That pushed the lead from nine points up to fifteen and that was going to be a tough battle to get back in."
"In the second half, we held them early but then they went on a little run and we just couldn't get back in it after that," Brothers added.
"We tried to limit (Micah) Pollard's penetration into the lane. We ran what we call a 'scramble and one' Maggie Pinney chasing Pollard. When we weren't rebounding out of that, it looked like the defense wasn't doing very good but I thought Maggie and Cayla Kientz did a great job of defending her all night long."
The season was one that held promise after a 3-1 start but seemingly jumped off the rails until the very end of the year.
"It was a season where we started off well. Shelby Frye got hurt in the Riverton Parke game and I'm not sure we really recovered from that until the Greencastle game. (Frye) got back but we weren't in synch with each other on the floor."
"We would play parts of the game well but we didn't put four quarters together. Around the Greencastle, Monrovia and Cloverdale games, we started playing to where I think we should have. I think the last two, three weeks of the season we've played better basketball."
At Cascade High School
IHSAA 2A Sectional # 46
C.C. 14 17 21 12 - 64
North Putnam 5 11 4 13 - 33
Covenant Christian -- L. Pollard 17, Bieberich 11, M. Pollard 10, Seibold 6, Griffin 6, Thompson 5, Fishburn 4, Tingle 3, Huff 2
North Putnam -- Lucas 11, Frye 6, Me. Robinson 6, Pinney 3, Mo. Robinson 3, Kientz 2, Wiatt 2