Cougars' season ends in loss to Monrovia

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
North Putnam senior Bethany Wiatt, pictured here in a recent game, scored eight points for the Cougars Tuesday against Monrovia. Along with classmates Alex Land and Madi Asbell, Wiatt played her final game for the Cougars in the 50-27 loss. (Banner Graphic/JARED JERNAGAN)

SPEEDWAY -- The North Putnam girls' basketball team traveled to Speedway High School to take part in the first round of the Sectional 44 bracket. The Cougars looked to sneak an upset but fell to Monrovia, 50-27.

The Cougars got off to a slow start as they trailed 11-1 midway through the first quarter. The deficit was one that the Cougars could not overcome due to the size of the Bulldogs, who had four players who were at least six feet tall.

"After the initial minutes of the ballgame I thought we did decent," coach Curtis Lawrence said. "They got some easy looks; we did not do a good job of recognizing where people were. The plan was to give up the outside shot."

Sophomore Taylor Nauert took the lead for North Putnam, topping every statistical category besides assists. Monrovia was led in every statistical category by senior Kristal Smith.

"She played well. She took it upon herself to change the way she played defense and did a lot more fronting. Which helped us more," Lawrence said.

North Putnam outrebounded the Bulldogs despite the size difference 29-27.

"It was not bad," Lawrence said. "We just are not a very strong team when we get the ball in our hands. We allow people to take it away from us or get tied up and that is something we need to work on in the offseason."

North Putnam struggled from both the line and the field only making 33 percent of its free throws and 27 percent from the field.

"Shot selection is good when we have shots but the biggest issue on the offensive side was free throws. We were two for 11 at halftime, in a 14 point ballgame when you miss nine free throws that is a difference. If we hit free throws in the first half, I think you would have seen a completely different team in the second half," Lawrence said.

North Putnam had high hopes for the season and was pusing for a run in the tournament. The teams' toughness showed up every game and could be very punishing.

"I have never questioned their toughness," Lawrence said. "For 19 ballgames they busted their tails for 32 minutes and that is credit to the type of young ladies they are and how hard they want to play. The toughness is never a question."

At Speedway
IHSAA Girls' Basketball Sectional 44
First Round
Monrovia 13 11 12 14 -- 50
North Putnam 2 8 9 8 -- 27
Monrovia (50):
Smith 5-15 2-6 12, Delph 4-7 2-2 10, Keen 3-5 0-0 9, Hunter 1-6 2-4 4, Knieper 1-3 2-2 4, Nay 2-3 0-0 4, Longere 1-3 1-1 3, Bennett 1-1 0-0 2, Whitaker 1-3 0-0 2. Total: 17-47 (3-9) 9-10, 50.
North Putnam (27):
Nauert 3-7 3-4 9, Wiatt 3-5 2-7 8, Land 2-5 1-2 6, Asbell 1-12 2-7 4, Clodfelter 0-2 0-3 0, Evans 0-1 0-0 0, Mindiola 0-1 0-1 0. otal: 9-33 (1-5) 8-24, 27.
Mon (27-7):
Smith 13-3, Delph 4-0, Nay 4-0, Keen 3-2, Hunter 2-2, Longere 1-0, Tharp 1-0.
NP (29-8): Nauert 9-2, Asbell 8-3, Wiatt 4-1, Millican 4-0, Clodfelter 3-2, Evans 1-0.
Turnovers M 18 NP 19. Fouls M 18 NP 10.

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