NPHS falls after leading
CLAYTON-- Saturday night's matchup between the North Putnam Cougars and Cascade Cadets boys' basketball teams at Cascade finalized the cross-over pairings in the Western Indiana Conference. Cascade will be the fifth seed in the East Division with a 59-49 win over the Cougars, who will be the sixth seed.
The Cougars have struggled to find offense all year, but it finally came around in the first quarter when they put up 19 points. They shot 7 of 13 in the quarter and Austin Judy led the way with seven of those points.
"We have been trying a way to create some offense," Cougar coach Collin McCartt said. "We've really been working hard. I thought we were really good in the first half with it. Second half, it was different. We had some shots that didn't fall for us. We didn't stay in front of people. We had about a three minute stretch where we didn't play good defense. Obviously, they took advantage of that."
North Putnam had some trouble scoring the ball in the second quarter, but under the right hand of Preston Porter, he hit three straight threes to end the half just after the Cougars had fallen behind by three. They led at the half, 30-28.
"He hit three big shots in a row for us," McCartt said. "That's where Preston helps us a lot is offensively. I think he sees a lot of the things he needs to do. I think he's still finding that balance of ways to be effective the entire time. He wants to do so much in a good way, sometimes he'll force the issue a little bit. He's learning and he's working his way through that. He's doing a good job with it. Once he gets rolling from the three-point line, he helps us out a lot."
Second half woes hurt the Cougars. The Cadets came out and put up 20 third- quarter points, while the Cougars could only muster seven. Turnovers plagued the team as they finished with 16 total but 14 of them came in the last three quarters.
Despite falling down by as many as 13 points, the Cougars managed to climb back into the game. That deficit dwindled down to five with 1:36 remaining. They had a chance to cut it to three or even two off a missed front end of a one-and-one, but they missed a layup.
North Putnam had another chance after the second straight missed front end of a one-and-one, but this time Porter missed a three-pointer.
"We had a nice look off an out-of-bounds play," McCartt said. "I told the guys that I need to do a better job preparing them for down the stretch. We'll work on that and we'll get better. I was really proud of how we fought back. We were down 13 and to get it back to five and have some opportunities past that, I thought was testament to how hard our kids fought tonight."
Now that everything is set the eleventh and twelfth place matchup in the Western Indiana Conference will be between the North Putnam Cougars and the South Putnam Eagles. These teams will play each other three times before the end of the regular season and possibly a fourth time in sectionals. The cross-over will be played on Jan. 29 at South Putnam, then they will play again on Feb. 4 at North Putnam and in the Putnam County Classic on Feb. 12.
"It's going to be unique now," McCartt said. "It's almost February and we're going to play South Putnam three times before the sectional. I think they're in kind of a building mode as well. They're very young. Those guys are working hard and trying to get better. It's going to be a county rivalry and I think our kids are looking forward to it."
At CASCADE HIGH SCHOOL
North Putnam 19 11 7 12--49
Cascade 15 13 20 11--59
North Putnam: A. Judy 6-12 0-1 16, Porter 5-11 2-5 15, Smith 2-6 2-3 8, Bean 2-3 0-0 4, Jeter 2-4 0-1 4, Duff 1-4 0-0 2. Totals: 19-44 FG, 7-22 3-pt, 4-10 FT.
Cascade: Alderson 5-7 5-5 17, DuBois 5-6 3-4 13, Burch 4-7 1-2 11, Butler 4-8 2-4 10, Gate 2-4 0-0 4, Stephenson 1-3 2-3 4. Totals: 21-35 FG, 4-7 3-pt, 13-20 FT.
North Putnam: Duff 6, Jeter 6, C. Judy 5, A. Judy 2, Bean 1, Porter 1, Smith 1.
Cascade: DuBois 5, Burch 4, Alderson 3, Butler 2, Compliment 1, Gates 1,