Cougars fall to Mounties at home

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

BAINBRIDGE -- For a team gaining experience, sometimes the toughest part of winning basketball games is putting together a complete effort. Offense, defense, rebounding, turnovers and all other aspects of the game must be in sync.

The North Putnam girls' basketball teams still struggles with this at times. Although they shot the ball very well from the floor (49 percent) and committed fewer turnovers than normal, they struggled to defend Southmont and to rebound.

Cougar junior Leah Crosby puts in a layup in first quarter action Tuesday night.

In the end, the Cougars allowed the Mounties to take 17 more shot attempts than they had Tuesday night. That translated into a 66-44 loss.

The struggles with defense and rebounding were especially frustrating to Cougar coach Kevin Smith, who had been happy with those aspects of his team's game recently.

"We've been defending and rebounding really well lately. I'm not sure what was going on tonight," Smith said. "I know Southmont played really, really well. They were more physical and really aggressive to the basketball. They seemed to be a step quicker than we were tonight to the basketball.

"(Soutmont) shot the ball extremely well tonight -- from the perimeter and from the paint. They did a really nice job of defending us in the half court," Smith added.

Mounty guard Elizabeth Sparks was especially troubling to the Cougars (5-10, 2-0 WCC), putting up 20 points for Southmont (7-6, 1-2 Sagamore). The majority of her points came on second chances.

"I think we missed some block outs and they got some quick put-backs and momentum early in the game. We really couldn't get it turned around," Smith said.

Early in the first quarter, the two squads traded buckets. However, the Mounties closed the first quarter on a 12-4 run to take an 18-10 advantage into the second.

In the second, it was more of the same, with Southmont doubling up on the Cougars, 20-10.

The Mounties led 38-20 at the half.

In the second half, the Cougars were outscored by just four points, but the damage had been done in the first.

As Smith continues to look for improved guard play, he was a bit encouraged to see that his team gave the ball up just 21 times, as opposed to the season average of 24.

The Cougars' shooting from the field actually very good, as they were 17-for-35. The problem was, the Mounties shot the ball 52 times on the evening.

"We shot the ball well, but we didn't get as many shot attempts as they did. Part of that was that they got so many offensive rebounds," the coach said. "When we did get shots, we didn't shoot it poorly, we just didn't get many."

The Cougars will try to return to their winning ways and to defend their undefeated WCC record when county rival Cloverdale visits at 6 p.m. Friday.

At North Putnam

Southmont 18 20 14 14 -- 66

North Putnam 10 10 11 13 -- 44

Southmont (7-6, 1-2 Sagamore) -- Sparks 8-10 4-4 20, McGaughey 5-7 1-1 12, Rhoads 5-6 0-1 11, Demoret 3-7 1-1 7, Clauser 2-5 1-2 5, Joyce 2-5 0-0 4, Porter 1-6 0-0 3, Rose 1-6 0-1 2, No. 50 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 27-52 FG, 7-10 FT, 66 points.

North Putnam (5-10, 2-0 WCC) -- McGaughey 5-10 0-0 14, Alles 3-3 5-7 11, L. Crosby 4-5 1-2 9, Johnston 4-8 0-0 8, Stigall 1-1 0-0 2, E. Crosby 0-3 0-2 0, Malayer 0-2 0-0 0, No. 35 0-1 0-0 0, No. 33 0-1 0-0 0, No. 13 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 17-35 FG, 6-11 FT, 44.

3-pt FG--Sm 3-12 (McGaughey 1-1, Rhoads 1-2, Porter 1-3), NP 3-11 (McGaughey 3-6). Turnovers--Sm 10, NP 21.

Next game -- North Putnam hosts Cloverdale at 6 p.m. Friday.

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