CAYUGA -- North Putnam's girls' basketball team, in the midst of the roughest part of the schedule this season, dropped to 1-8 after falling to North Vermillion 68-22.
The Falcons came out blazing to start the game and the Cougars had little in the way of answers, allowing 28 points in the first quarter.
The hosts slid into a rhythm from there, cruising along through the next three periods of play as North Putnam struggled to put points on the board.
Things improved for the Cougars after halftime as the squad was able to stay with the hosts for longer stretches of the second half.
North Putnam found ways to get to the basket in quarters three and four, while also visiting the free throw line 16 times, but were in too much of a hole after the first period of play to mount a sustainable comeback.
North Putnam head coach Curtis Lawrence said that the squad played less like a unit until after halftime.
"We talked at halftime about how we were playing as five individuals and not playing as a team. That was our point of emphasis during the break," Lawrence said. "I thought our effort in the second half was much better and it showed on the scoreboard.
"We were down 42-7 at half and we held them to 26 points in the second half than we did in the first half."
North Putnam plays again Friday against Class 2A No. 17 Cascade and Lawrence said that the effort in the second half would be needed in all four quarters against the Cadets.
"We have to play as a team against Cascade." Lawrence said. "We can't play as five individuals on the floor. We have to do a better job of rebounding and talking care of the ball.
"I'll spend tonight and part of tomorrow morning looking at what the Cadets do and we'll have a game plan together for tomorrow's practice and the rest of the week."
At North Vermillion
North Putnam -- 1 6 7 8 -- 22
North Vermillion -- 28 14 13 13 -- 68
North Putnam -- 6-47 FG, 0-7 3-FG, 10-22 FT
Smith 8, Wiatt 5, Asbell 4, Lucas 3, Kientz 2
North Vermillion -- 27-64 FG, 7-20 3-FG, 7-14 FT
Martin 22, Kinneer 15, Turchi 13, Carr 13, Bowman 3, Grubbs 2
North Putnam 32, North Vermillion 29
North Putnam 30, North Vermillion 17
Next Game: North Putnam hosts Cascade Friday night at 6 p.m.