ROACHDALE -- After the Homecoming festivities had concluded, North Putnam's boys' basketball squad had a chance to sweep the rest of the Putnam County schools with a win over South Putnam Friday night.
The Eagles, who had won two of three, made it three of four with a blistering offensive output, knocking off the Cougars for a 72-64 win.
South Putnam lead 10-8 after one period of play but the game itself was much tighter. The squads were tied seven times and traded the lead off eight times in the opening 12 minutes of the game.
The Eagles got some breathing space late in the second quarter after Sawyer Arnold's three saw the last lead change of the game.
North Putnam had problems keeping the visitors off the glass and it would be costly as Justin Bumgardner and Trey Moore scored on put-backs late in the period.
Rob Gibson capped the period with a steal off an inbounds play and lay-up to give the Eagles their largest advantage of the first half at eight points entering halftime.
North Putnam got as close as five points in the third quarter but couldn't figure out how to hold off the Eagles on the other end of the court.
As time ticked away, South Putnam never relented, scoring 20 or more points in the second, third and fourth periods, leaving the Cougars trying to simply get within striking distance.
A 10 point fourth quarter from Moore, along with 10-of-12 free throws from the Eagles, kept the hosts from ever getting too close.
South Putnam scored their highest point total in three years and allowed them to leave with the Putnam County Bucket in hand, one week after the Cougars had wrestled it away from Greencastle.
South Putnam head coach Troy Burgess said that the squad showed resolve and patience.
"I thought the last two minutes of the first half was huge when we made that run to get ahead," Burgess said.
"We've been trying to play the game in four minute increments. We've struggled in the first four minutes of third quarters and we withstood their charge in that time frame before building the lead back up.
"They made some good runs at us but our kids continued to fight back. They continued to get inside and attack the basket and we're very happy for our kids," Burgess added.
"We feel like we're pretty good inside and we're getting better. Our four primary post players don't collectively have a lot of playing time but they continue to get better each week."
North Putnam head coach Nathan Martindale wasn't pleased with the performance of the Cougars.
"I don't think we played well the whole night to be honest. Offensively, we were trying to do too much individual work instead of letting the offense do the work," Martindale said.
"Defensively, we were trying to make the great play and not the easy play. They killed us on the boards, on the 50-50's. We just didn't have the focus, and I'll take the blame for that.
"I was worried coming into tonight that, after the Greencastle game, we'd not play with the same intensity and enthusiasm and my nightmare came true tonight."
North Putnam travels to South Vermillion tonight and Martindale was quick to note what the squad needed to do.
"We've got to execute. They've got to understand that it's not going to come easy. You have to earn everything you do," Martindale said.
"We've got to work hard for 32 minutes and not work hard when they want to. They have to do it at all times," he added.
South Putnam will wait until Thursday to play Northview at home. Burgess said that the win will hopefully keep the momentum of the last few games going.
"It's a great lift for us. We beat a team that's hot right now. They're a good, athletic basketball team. To come in here on their home floor and win the bucket, this is huge for us," Burgess said.
"Our school takes pride in holding onto the bucket on the boys' side and the paddle on the girls' side. To do it against a team playing as well as North Putnam is a big confidence boost for us."
At North Putnam
South Putnam 10 20 20 22 -- 72
North Putnam 8 14 16 26 -- 64
South Putnam -- 26-54 FG, 3-8 3-FG, 17-23 FT
Hammond 18, Moore 18, Arnold 17, Bumgardner 8, Gibson 6, Kelly 2, Chestnut 2, Pell 1
North Putnam -- 23-64 FG, 4-16 3-FG, 14-18 FT
Wiltermood 18, Everts 13, Bryan 12, Brewer 11, Nauert 6, Porter 4
Next Games -- North Putnam travels to South Vermillion today. South Putnam hosts Northview next Thursday.