North Putnam girls lose on road
CAYUGA-- It is finals week for North Putnam High School and the girls' basketball team took a break from studying to travel to North Vermillion to take on the Falcons Tuesday night. After falling behind by 10 in the third quarter the Cougars rallied to get within one but lost a heartbreaker, 27-21.
The Falcons (7-3) opened up the contest with juniors Rhiannon Grubbs and Kinsey West hitting threes on the first two possessions. The Cougar (1-9) defense held solid and only allowed those two buckets.
North Putnam could not get a basket to go and leading scorer Taylor Nauert went out midway through the first quarter with two fouls. They finally scored on a Kaitlin Mindiola and-one with 45 seconds left to end the first down 6-3.
"We played well," coach Jim Spencer said. "We try to get better every game and we played well. We got a few breaks and we didn't always convert, but we kept it manageable."
The last time this happened to the Cougars, Nauert going to the bench because of fouls, the Cougars were outscored by 15 in under three minutes.
The improvements Spencer has worshipped all year showed off because only went down 10-7 at halftime.
Senior Ricki Evans came in and played well off the bench for Nauert. She had three rebounds and two assists.
"Anytime a key player goes out, tensions rise," Spencer said. "I'll say it again. Our goal is to get better and going from being down by 17 to three is as good as it gets. I'm proud of the girls."
Nauert came back in to start the third, but she turned it over twice on the first two possessions which led to Falcon scoring. Junior Sierra Grube had four points and two assists in the quarter as they went up by 10, 21-11.
"We had a few mistakes that they took advantage of," Spencer said. "In games like this you can't do that."
Spencer gathered his team around him and told them they had to do something quick. He dialed up an alley-oop style play for Nauert and junior Madisyn Smith made a perfect faked shot to Nauert for the open layup.
"We wanted to see if we could execute that play, and it worked," Spencer said.
Nauert responded by hitting a three off a pass from senior Kayla Clodfelter and Mindiola hit a shot as well.
The Cougars found themselves down one without even letting North Vermilion score.
"This team does better and better every game," Spencer said. "Before we would find ourselves down even farther and tonight things turned our way. It was a great game."
With a minute and a half left the Cougars turned the ball over and Spencer called timeout to regroup. The Falcons had still not scored.
North Vermillion passed the ball trying to take time off the clock and their coach called for no shots.
Senior Shawnacee Bowman however did not get the memo and while she was 0-for-6 on the night shooting she shot a three and drained it. The most unlikely event took place and the Falcons had scored their first points in the quarter with 55 seconds left.
"They were bound to score at some point," Spencer said. "We didn't expect it to happen that way, but we have to be ready for everything. She (Bowman) made a good shot."
Down four the Cougars couldn't score any points and they put Grube on the line. She sealed the game off, making both of her free throws, 27-21.
"Some games go our way and others won't," Spencer said. "Tonight we seen both. We responded well and really improved. Things just went against us in the third and the last few seconds. We have practice twice before we play Cascade Friday. Hopefully we will fix our mistakes and finish out there."
The Cougars will play Cascade Friday at 6 p.m. in the first game of a boys-girls doubleheader.
At North Vermilion
North Putnam 3 4 4 11-21
North Vermillion 6 4 11 6-27
North Putnam: Nauert 9, Mindiola 5, Smith 4, Clodfelter 2, Henninger 1, Evans 0.
North Vermillion: Grubbs 10, Grube 9, Bowman 3, West 3, Vicars 2, Benskin 0, Lewis 0.
North Putnam: Henninger 8, Clodfelter 4, Nauert 4, Evans 3, Smith 3, Mindiola 2.
North Vermilion: West 5, Grubbs 4, Lewis 3, Vicars 3, Bowman 2, Grube 2.