ROACHDALE -- North Putnam's boys' basketball squad used a stifling second half defense to turn a one point halftime lead into a comfortable 49-33 victory over Cloverdale Friday night.
Defense was the strong suit for the Cougars throughout the night, forcing 19 Clover turnovers but was especially stingy through the third and most of the fourth quarters.
The home side took an early 14-7 in after one period of play on the back of Tim Wiltermood, who scored nine of his game high 17 in the opening frame.
Cloverdale rallied in the second quarter to cut the deficit to one entering halftime. Five different Clovers scored in the period, with Brandon Dorman scoring all seven of his points in the frame.
The visitors even took the lead twice as the third quarter got underway, with baskets from Chuck Strunk and Zach Dorman taking the lead briefly each time.
The Cougars, however, shut down the Clover offense for nearly eight minutes after Dorman's basket. In the meantime, the home side built up an 11 point lead.
Key to second half for the Cougars was senior Nate Bryan, who, after getting in early foul trouble, scored all 13 of his points in the second half to power North Putnam into a commanding position.
Cloverdale finally got a Mitch Williams jumper to fall a minute and a half into the fourth quarter but wouldn't find much offense success until the final two minutes.
By then, the Cougars had already established as high as an 18 point lead and claimed their fourth victory in the last five games.
North Putnam head coach Nathan Martindale said the offense wasn't quite up to par, but the defense was rock solid.
"Defensively, outside of some offensive rebounds where they got up some put backs, I thought we did a very nice job. The guys were really dialed in defensively. When guys struggled, the bench gave us great minutes," Martindale said.
"Offensively, we're not too pleased with how we played. But we made shots. We hit free throws. We make key buckets down the stretch that we needed. When you're on a roll, you can't complain too much."
Cloverdale head coach Pat Rady said that the difference in confidence between the teams was a major factor in the game.
"We're struggling on the offensive end. We're missing what we feel are good shots. The bottom line is North Putnam, winning three of their last four, came in with confidence and struggled," Rady said.
"The kids are tight. We've got to keep working with them and try to get that confidence back. I feel we're a better ball club than what we're showing but we're having some tough times right now."
"Confidence will come from practice. They've got to take a long, slow look at the guy in the mirror. The guy in the mirror is going to help them," Rady added.
For the Cougars, Greencastle awaits next week and Martindale said it was a big test for his squad.
"We've got a big game next weekend. Greencastle's a tough club and we're going down to McAnally, so we've got to be able to be focused there and bring the same defensive intensity, while getting better on the offensive end.
At North Putnam
Cloverdale 7 14 4 8 -- 33
North Putnam 14 8 9 18 -- 49
Cloverdale -- 13-41 FG, 2-10 3-FG, 5-11 FT
Fidler 8, B. Dorman 7, Z. Dorman 7, Schroer 5, Strunk 4, Williams 2
North Putnam -- 17-54 FG, 4-14 3-FG, 11-16 FT
Wiltermood 17, Bryan 13, Brewer 12, Everts 5, Nauert 2
Next game -- North Putnam travels to Greencastle and Cloverdale hosts South Putnam next Friday.