(Banner Graphic/TRENT SCOTT) [Order this photo]
The Cougars picked up their third straight win Saturday afternoon as they traveled to and defeated Eminence 46-19.
The visitors quickly established themselves against the Eels within the opening quarter and never looked back as the hosts found offense tough to come by.
North Putnam was the only team on the scoreboard through one quarter and while shots may not have been falling, the Cougars got several put-back baskets to take a 15-0 lead after one quarter of play.
Eminence would not score until a free throw was made by Katie Moore at the 3:39 mark of the second quarter.
By then, the Cougars already held a 21-point advantage and were utilizing their entire varsity roster to get minutes after the winter break.
The pattern repeated in the second half as North Putnam crashed the boards and scored multiple second and third chance baskets to continue pushing out the lead.
Eminence would outscore the Cougars nine-eight in the final frame but the game itself was securely in the hands of the visitors, who picked up their fourth win of the season.
North Putnam head coach Curtis Lawrence said that three wins in a row was good for building up the squad's confidence ahead of the bulk of the WCC play.
"It definitely boosts our confidence as we enter conference play. Eminence is struggling this year, but any win is a good win. We were able to get kids minutes, which will help us in the long run," Lawrence said. "In these last three ball games, we've played really well. We were a little beat up today. We had a pretty physical game with Fountain Central on Thursday.
"It was good to get some of the starters some rest throughout the game today. I thought the defensive intensity was there for 32 minutes and our aggressiveness on offense was good throughout," Lawrence added.
Lawrence also said that the squad came out ready to play in the second half as opposed to cruising through the rest of the contest.
"We treated the second half like it was a new ball game. We had the girls come out and press like at the start of the game to keep their momentum and tempo going," Lawrence said. "That's how we approach games.
"Whether we're up or down 20, we have to take each second half as if the score was 0-0."
The competition picks up next week as North Putnam travels to Monrovia, and Lawrence said that the squad needed to carry over the confidence of the last three games into their WCC clash.
"It helps to have wins going into the game with Monrovia. Our defense has been there for most of the year. Monrovia is a big squad but they've been up and down all year," Lawrence said. "We've got a week to prepare. We'll take care of ourselves for the first couple of days and worry about Monrovia as we head through the week."
North Putnam 15 8 15 8 -- 46
Eminence 0 5 5 9 -- 19
North Putnam -- Wiatt 11, Smith 11, Lucas 7, Asbell 5, Kientz 6, Spencer 2, Heron 2, Clodfelter 2.
Eminence -- Moore 5, Belcher 4, Stierwalt 3, Foote 3, Jobes 2, Gore 2.