CLAYTON -- A different North Putnam team came out in the second half from the first against the Cascade Cadets Friday night. Unfortunately, both those teams lost by the night's end, 74-41.
The Cougars held a two-point lead in the second quarter and trailed by only five at the half, 28-23. But head coach Nathan Martindale said the team lost focus in the second half.
"We lost our focus, bottom line," Martindale said. "We didn't make our shots. We couldn't guard a telephone pole."
Cascade's JT Thomas ruled the first half, but North Putnam's Jameson Brewer was able to match him bucket to bucket. Brewer scored 14 of the Cougar's 23 points in the first half, going 7-for-8 in field goals. Brewer ended the night with 18 total points, leading the team, going 10 for 14 overall.
"This is what he can do," Martindale said about Brewer. "But he needs help from teammates to get open and set up the shot. Other guys need to step up."
North Putnam attempted to feed the ball to center Nate Bryan under the net early on, but the team changed tactics as Cascade kept getting a hand in passes and tipping shots. Cascade started with five unanswered points before Tim Wiltermood threw a pass to Brewer for the first Cougar points of the game. Brewer's six first quarter points brought the team back, and along with a big three-point shot from WIltermood and a contested shot under the rim from Kolten Everts, the Cougars ended the first quarter down 13-11.
The second quarter saw aggressive ball handling from both ends, with each team stripping the ball from the other. Following a recovery from Braydon Porter and a quick pass to Wiltermood, Brewer set himself up for a fast break pass across the halfcourt line to bring the score to 15-15. A lay-up from Bryan under the net gave the Cougars their first, and ultimately only, lead of the night at 15-17.
Though the half eventually ended on a basket at the buzzer from Everts 28-23, Cascade's Thomas and Jeffrey Hopper came out to play in the second half of the game. Cascade slowly pulled ahead from the Cougars with a few buckets, but with 4:56 left in the third and the score at 38-28, Cascade's offense exploded and left the Cougars in the dust. The Cadets went on a 17-point run through the fourth quarter, ended with a pair of free throw shots from Brewer with 6:44 left in the game.
The lapse in focus led to missed or heavily contested shots and intercepted passes for North Putnam. It was able to battle back, trading buckets at times with the Cadets. But it was too far back to make a comeback. After the score hit 60-30, North Putnam just couldn't reduce the Cadet lead lower than 30 points.
North Putnam's next game will be Saturday at home against Riverton Parke at 7:30 p.m.
Cascade 13 15 21 25 -- 74
North Putnam 11 12 5 13 -- 41
North Putnam -- 13-31 FG, 3-12 3-FG, 6-9 FT
Brewer 18, Flynn 6, Porter 6, Bryan 4, Everts 4, Wilterwood 3