North Putnam falls to hot South Vermillion team, 53-47

Sunday, February 9, 2014

CLINTON--The South Vermillion Wildcats boys' basketball team fresh off its first win over rival North Vermillion in four years welcomed the North Putnam Cougars down to Clinton looking to extend their winning streak to four games. The Wildcats were able to do that with a huge third-quarter momentum swing and defeated the Cougars 53-47.

The Cougars are built on solid and scrappy defense and their defense pressure showed in the first half. North Putnam allowed only 14 points in the first half and even more impressive is the fact that they only allowed the Wildcats to get off 13 total shots. The Cougars also forced 11 turnovers in the half.

"In the first half that is the new North Putnam," NPHS coach Lukas Haworth said. "That is the North Putnam that plays defense, the North Putnam that rebounds, takes smart shots, that does everything that the game plan says to do. That was a beautiful first half and I will take that first half and put it up against anybody from around here, anybody in our sectional. That first half is how the boys prepare to play the game."

The Cougars also had a pretty good offensive first-half shooting 45 percent from the field. The Cougars were 8-for-13 from 2-point range. If the Cougars had any weakness it would be from long range, only converting twice on 17 shots in the game.

"Any time you get an inside-out look, it's a shot you want to take. We took too many shots off of just ball reversals where we need to get drives or post feeds and that is something that we will talk about when we watch film," Haworth said. "We had the right guys shooting."

Senior Shane Beaman had arguably the best half of his career in the first half of the game, shooting 3-for-4 from the field, 4-of-5 from the line converting on two and-1 tries, hauling down a rebound, assisting on three baskets, had two steals and his hustle was the creator of two more turnovers.

The Cougars had all the momentum and had stopped sophomore sharpshooter DJ McMasters from scoring any points in the first half but in an instant that changed in the third quarter.

After leading 30-16 at the midpoint of the third and being on track to win their eighth game, North Putnam's wheels did not necessarily come off but McMasters finally appeared.

"You have to come out in that third quarter for the whole quarter and set the tone and that is not what we did," Haworth said. "We did not take advantage of open looks when we got them, the defense was very individualized, we did not do a god job of sitting down and guarding guys, when we did force the tough shot we did not get the rebound. It was really a opposite image of the first half and when you do not respect this game enough to play it for 32 minutes, that is what happens."

NPHS senior Jordan Nauert picked up an offensive foul which got the crowd riled up because it looked like no contact was made between Nauert and the defender.

On the resulting possession, McMasters hit a three to cut the deficit to 11. After a Beaman free throw McMasters hit another three. Then again after senior Bennett Hazelgrove made a bucket, McMasters hit again.

A 14-point lead disappeared, and at the end of three quarters it was eight, 35-27.

SVHS then forced turnovers on three of NPHS first four possessions that led to a 7-0 run. At the 6:28 mark North Putnam struggled to hold a one point lead.

North Putnam called a timeout but to no avail, out of the timeout the Wildcats went on a 7-2 run to take the lead 41-36 with just under five minutes left. North Putnam never got closer than one, which they battled to two different times, the rest of the game.

McMasters led all scorers with 19 points, all of those coming in just 12 minutes in the second half. He was 5-for-7 from long range in the second half.

The clutch free throw shooting by both teams was very impressive by both teams as they were a combined 32-of-37. South Vermillion's only missed free throw was by junior Jordan Branz who was 10-for-11 on the night.

Despite losing a large lead, North Putnam never lost toughness. The Cougars battled back multiple times and were a couple missed shots away or a couple bad bounces away from a win.

"I know it was not a win but when it went south, we could have given up but we pulled it back to a one-point game twice. These boys do not quit, they do not give up and even though this loss hurts because we feel like we played well enough to win, we still know that as long as long as that effort is there we can win ballgames on the road and improve before sectional gets here," Haworth said.

At South Vermillion
North Putnam 14 12 9 12 -- 47
South Vermillion 6 8 13 26 -- 53
North Putnam (47):
Nauert 4-15 2-2 12, Beaman 3-4 5-7 11, Hazelgrove 4-13 3-4 11, Roberts 3-5 1-2 7, Green 1-3 4-4 6. Total: 15-40 (2-17) 15-19, 47.
South Vermillion (53):
McMasters 6-11 2-2 19, Branz 2-4 10-11 15, Strayer 4-8 1-1 9, Spivey 1-1 3-3 5, Crouch 2-2 0-0 4, Bogetto 0-2 1-2 1, Hines 0-2 0-0 0, Waldrop 0-3 0-0 0. Total: 15-33 (6-16) 17-18, 53.
NP (16-5): Hazelgrove 5-2, Nauert 5-1, Roberts 3-0, Green 2-2, Beaman 1-0. SV: (17-4): Strayer 5-0, Branz 4-2, McMasters 2-1, Spivey 2-1, Hines 2-0, Bogetto 1-0, Uselman 1-0.
Assists (7): Beaman 5, Hazelgrove, Munns. Steals (11): Nauert 3, Beaman 2, Hazelgrove 2, Flynn, Green, Hall, Roberts. Turnovers: NP 16, SV 18. Fouls: NP 16, SV 15.

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