Cougars lose to hot-shooting Athenians

Monday, December 14, 2009

CRAWFORDSVILLE -- Crawfordsville shot a sizzling 61.1 percent from the field and also had a substantial advantage rebounding to defeat North Putnam, 76-55, in a nonconference boys basketball game Saturday on the Athenians' court.

The Cougars (1-4) played respectably on offense, making 45 percent (23-of-51) of their field goal attempts and committing only seven turnovers, but it was no match for the Athenians (4-1). Crawfordsville converted 33-of-54 field goals and out-rebounded North Putnam, 29-20.

Were the Athenians' shooters that good or did the Cougars give up too many easy baskets?

"I think it's a combination of both," first-year North Putnam coach Nathan Martindale said. "We gave up a little too much at some points and sometimes they just made good shots. Their two guards, (Caleb) Rasmussen and (Trent) Crabtree, are very good guards. They could be one of the best guards we will play all year. They're just that good.

"They're very well skilled fundamentally and we had trouble containing them. They did hit some tough shots on us, but then they also got some easy looks. It's one of those things we just have to keep at it."

Martindale thought the Cougars missed some good scoring opportunities.

"As a team, I thought we had our spurts where we played really well," Martindale said. "We were able to get some good looks on the offensive end, but we weren't able to convert those. And that's what killed us. We had a lot of easy shots that just didn't fall. Once again, we didn't get our free throws (making 6-of-12) that we wanted to hit. We let them get in the paint a little too much and that really killed us. Overall, I like where we're heading, but there are still a lot of things we need to fix."

Martindale was particularly pleased with the play of Jacob Lucas, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior center with good hands and a soft shooting touch. Lucas had 10 points and four rebounds.

"I thought Jacob Lucas played very well for us when he was in there, gave us good minutes, and for him that's big," Martindale said. "This is new for him at the varsity level and for him to come out and have a good game and knock down the shots that he got, that was big for him."

Lucas made 5-of-6 from the field, scoring from the low post, following offensive rebounds and also had a 16-foot jump shot.

"That's what we need from him," Martindale said. "He's got the touch from 15 feet, too. We can really use him stepping out and making that shot, going in there and banging with people and taking up room for those drivers so they can't know where to go."

Junior forward James Hedrick led the Cougars with 19 points. He was 7-of-17 on field goals including 1-of-4 on 3-pointers and 4-of-7 at the foul line.

Crabtree and Rasmussen each scored 14. Forward Nolan Harris scored 18 and 6-foot-5 center Kyle Blankenbeckler came off the bench for 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Athenians.

Five games into the season, Martindale believes the Cougars are making good progress.

"I have no doubt we're getting better," he said. "It's a process for us and once those kids get confidence in their game, they'll be knocking down those shots. You've just got to knock down open shots and that's doing it in practice and practicing and getting better at it. I think we're getting there. I like where we're heading."

At Crawfordsville

North Putnam 6 14 14 21 -- 55

Crawfordsville 8 26 19 23 -- 76

North Putnam 55

Jones 2-4 0-0 5, Hedrick 7-17 4-7 19, Adams 3-5 0-0 6, Franklin 3-9 1-2 8, Wiltermood 3-7 1-2 7, Lucas 5-6 0-1 10, Porter 0-1 0-0 0, Summerlot 0-1 0-0 0, Logan 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 23-51 6-12 55.

Crawfordsville 76

Harris 8-13 0-2 18, Miller 2-3 2-2 6, Rasmussen 7-9 0-1 14, Wren 1-2 0-0 2, Crabtree 5-14 3-4 14, Blankenbeckler 6-9 2-2 14, Priebe 2-2 0-0 4, Donahue 1-1 0-0 2, Heron 1-1 0-0 2, Totals 33-54 7-11 76.

3-point field goals -- NP 3-11 (Jones 1-1, Hedrick 1-4, Franklin 1-5, Wiltermood 0-1), Craw 3-9 (Harris 2-4, Crabtree 1-5).

Rebounds -- NP 20 (Wiltermood 5, Adams 4, Lucas 4), Craw 29 (Blackenbeckler 10, Rasmussen 5).

Turnovers -- NP 7, Craw 10. Fouls: NP 14, Craw 12. Fouled out: None.

Next game-- North Putnam travels to Cascade on Friday for a West Central Conference game.