Cougars slip away from Eels, close season with win
EMINENCE -- The North Putnam Cougars visited “The Tank” in Eminence on Friday night to close out the regular season in high school basketball. The Cougars overcame a sluggish start to pick up a 63-51 win and improve to 8-15 on the season.
North used a big third quarter to gain a lead and then held on to pick up the victory. The Eels fell to 5-17 on their Senior Night.
The Cougars couldn’t get any offense going in the first half, shooting just 10-of-25 from the field and turning the ball over five times in the second period. Eminence’s Shawn Michaelis scored 16 points in the half to keep the Cougars from taking a lead.
“They (Eminence) came out and played harder than we did in the first half,” North Putnam coach Collin McCartt said. “They had their Senior Night, and they took it to us early. I didn’t think we came ready to play.”
The Eels’ Michaelis picked up two old-fashioned three-point plays in the first quarter, while North couldn’t find any offensive rhythm. The Cougars were able to take a lead at 5-3 on an Andrew Pickel rebound basket, but couldn’t stretch the lead as they missed 11 shots in the period. Pickel added another basket late in the quarter that gave the Cougars a 12-10 lead at the end of one period.
“We didn’t make any shots early in the game,” McCartt said.
The Eels used an 8-0 run midway through the second quarter to take a 26-18 lead.
The Cougars finally got some offense going late in the half. They used a 10-2 run of their own to close the period and tie the score at 28-all. Caleb Duncan started the run with a trey. Elliot Gross nailed a couple of free throws. Pickel added a layup, then finished the run with a three-point play.
Michaelis tied the score late in the half with a pair of free throws.
North took control in the third period, opening the second half with an 11-3 run. North picked up three points on each of its first three possessions of the second half. Gross started the half with a three-point play, then James Duncan and Caleb Duncan each hit a trey to give the Cougars a 37-31 lead. The Cougars then went inside as Pickel led the way in the quarter with 10 of his game-high 27 points. The junior picked up many of his baskets on nifty feeds from fellow post player, Gross.
Gross had his own three-point play in the quarter, but continued to feed the six-foot-six Pickel for layups and the Cougars finished the period up 47-36.
“We were able to come out in the second half and hit some shots. We did some things we wanted to. Elliot and Andrew know how to play together and they did that well,” McCartt said.
North couldn’t pull away from the Eels, but never let the hosts threaten in the final period. Eminence could get no closer than eight points in the quarter as Pickel had eight more points and Caleb Duncan hit 4-of-6 free throws to help ice the game.
Michaelis led the Eels with 25 points as the only Eminence player in double figures. Pickel led all scorers with 27 points and added 14 rebounds, while Caleb Duncan had 16 points.
“We talked about the fact that you don’t have to be happy with the way you played, but you are always happy to get a win. It is really good to get a win going into the tournament,” McCartt said.
The Cougars will open Class 2A Sectional 44 play on Tuesday night against the Cascade Cadets at South Putnam High School.
NORTH PUTNAM (63) – C. Duncan 4-11 4-6 16, Murray 0-0 1-2 1, J. Duncan 3-6 0-4 8, Pickel 11-21 5-5 27, Gross 2-11 5-7 9, Davies 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 21-50 FG, 15-24 FT, 63 TP.
EMINENCE (51) — Campbell 3-8 1-2 9, Webb 2-10 2-2 7, Sims 2-2 0-0 4, Michaelis 8-15 5-5 25, Trester 0-3 0-0 0, Bales 1-4 0-0 2, Lashbrook 2-4 0-0 4, O’Mullane 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-48 FG, 8-9 FT, 51 TP.
North Putnam 12 16 19 16 — 63
Eminence 10 18 8 15 — 51
3-Point Shooting — NP 6-15 (C. Duncan 4-8, J. Duncan 2-5, Pickel 0-2) EHS 7-22 (Campbell 2-4, Webb 1-5, Michaelis 4-7, Trester 0-3, Bales 0-1, Lashbrook 0-2). Rebounds – NP 36 (C. Duncan 2, Murray 3, J. Duncan 4, Pickel 14, Gross 9, Davies 3) EHS – 28 (Campbell 1, Webb 3, Sims 2, Michaelis 12, Trester 1, Bales 3, Lashbrook 4) FG Pct. – NP 42.0, EHS 37.5. FT Pct. – NP 62.5, EHS 88.9. Turnovers NP 10, EHS 13.