Cougars get WIC sweep over South Putnam
Freshmen pace North girls in win
BAINBRIDGE — The North Putnam Cougars hosted their county rival from South Putnam Friday night in the Western Indiana Conference opener for both girls’ basketball teams.
Scoring was at a premium as the host Cougars avenged an earlier loss (56-39 in the Putnam County Classic) to the Eagles by winning a physical, tough game 32-31.
There seemed to be a cover on both hoops as neither team was able to shoot the ball very well. The two teams managed to shoot it 93 times, but only produced 24 field goals for the game. It wasn’t any better at the line, as the teams shot under 50 percent combined there also.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well, but our effort was fantastic,” North Putnam head coach Jarrod Duff understated.
The Cougars hit on 14-of-47 from the field and 2-of-7 from the free throw line but made just enough plays to improve their record to 3-4 and now 1-0 in conference play.
The Eagles found the hoop harder to find than that. South shot just 10-of-46 from the field for under 22 percent, including 4-of-18 from the behind the three-point arc as they fell to 4-4 on the season and 0-1 in WIC Western Division play.
“I was proud of our girls. They played physical and tough, but when you shoot 10-of-46 from the field, you have to play perfectly to win,” South Putnam head coach Brian Gardner said.
There was very little offensive rhythm in the first half.
The Cougars did manage to get a spark from Kyla Willis who went on her own 7-0 run to end the quarter and give the Cougars a 9-6 lead at the end of the first period.
The offense didn’t pick up in the second quarter. The Eagles had their own guard step up, as Alex Bratcher scored eight of her game-high 14 points in the second period to spark the Eagles to an 18-14 lead at the intermission.
The Eagles seemed to start pulling away in the third quarter. South was able to extend its lead to 27-20 at the end of the third quarter as Bratcher again led the way with six points, but the Cougars wouldn’t go away and held the Eagles scoreless from the 3:54 mark of the third quarter until 4:48 was left in the game. That is almost a full quarter of scoreless ball, but the Eagle defense kept Cougars from taking a lead in that time as they only allowed five points in that stretch.
South Putnam still led 30-21 at that 4:48 mark, but North found its way offensively late in the game.
“We were physical, we didn’t let them get comfortable. There was a little spurt where they got back in the game,” Gardner said.
The spurt was sparked by a Dana Tennis trey, the Cougars went on a 9-0 run to take a 32-30 lead with just a minute to play. South managed to get one more free throw, but not enough to take the lead.
“I have told Dana Tennis, if you miss a shot or eight shots you have to keep shooting if you’re open. She hit a big three, had a nice drive for a bucket, then had a nice pass to Brie (Miller) on the bucket that put us ahead,” Duff said.
North’s defense caused a lot of the Eagle shooting woes according to Gardner. “They put us in positions we didn’t handle very well. Hats off to coach Duff and North Putnam.”
The Eagles will play on Tuesday night as they head to Clay City for a non-conference matchup.
“We are going learn from this. We are going to get better,” Gardner said.
North is off until next Friday when they play Sullivan in another WIC game and coach Duff hopes the defensive intensity keeps up.
“Defensively is where we won this game,” Duff said. “South Putnam is hard to guard, but we dug in our heels and played tough,”
SOUTH PUTNAM (31) – Custis 2-12 1-2 6, Bratcher 4-9 3-3 14, Vanihel 3-15 1-1 7, Bumgardner 0-3 2-6 2, Capps 1-2 0-0 2, Egold 0-4 0-0 0, Mahoney-Sutherland 0-1 0-0 0, Crewes 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 10-46 FG, 7-12 FT, 31 TP.
NORTH PUTNAM (32) – Tennis 2-10 0-0 5, Osburn 3-5 0-0 6, Lyons 0-7 0-2 0, Willis 4-10 0-0 9, Miller 5-12 1-2 11, Gibson 0-2 0-0 0, Sims 0-1 0-1 0, Young 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 14-47 FG, 2-7 FT, 32 TP.
3-point shooting – SP 4-18 (Custis 1-6, Bratcher 3-7, Vanihel 0-3, Egold 0-2), NP 2-9 (Tennis 1-6, Lyons 0-2, Willis 1-1) Rebounds – SP 37 (Custis 5, Bratcher 4, Vanihel 11, Bumgardner 8, Capps 2, Mahoney-Sutherland 3, Egold 1) NP – 35 (Tennis 1, Osburn 7, Lyons 4, Willis 1, Miller 6, Gibson 2, Sims 4, Young 3) FG Pct. – SP 21.7, NP 29.7. FT Pct. – SP 58.3, NP 28.6. Turnovers – SP 14, NP 17.
North boys pick up overtime victory
BAINBRIDGE -- There was something about the gym at North Putnam High School on Friday night. After a tough night shooting for the girls’ in the opener, South Putnam and North Putnam boys’ teams didn’t fare much better.
It wasn’t aesthetically pleasing for basketball fans, but it was exciting as the Cougars outlasted the Eagles, 44-40, in overtime in Western Indiana Conference play.
Defense ruled the night as both teams got after each other physically. South hit just 21.7 percent from the field and 3-of-26 from behind the arc, while North was able to hit just a third of its shots. Neither team put together more than 11 points in a quarter.
“What I like the most,” North Putnam coach Collin McCartt said, “is we didn’t play particularly well, but we just gutted through it. They just kept fighting through it.”
South Putnam coach Greg Dean echoed that sentiment about his own squad.
“Our kids battled all night,” he said. “We didn’t deserve to be in the game the way we shot it. We were in the game because of the way we defended.”
The two teams missed the first 10 shots of the game and the first bucket wasn’t scored until Andrew Pickel converted a layup with four minutes already gone by. That would be Pickel’s only bucket of the first half as the junior center went to bench shortly thereafter with foul trouble. He had scored 33 points in the opener against Southmont.
The teams traded a few buckets in the first quarter, but the Eagles closed on a 4-0 run and took a 9-6 lead at the end of the first stanza. The second quarter saw neither team able to put together much of a run.
The offense even declined in the second period as South was able to maintain a 16-13 lead. Austin Arnold kept the Eagles in the game with five points.
“To be within striking range with Andrew on the bench was huge,” McCartt said. “It wasn’t a foregone conclusion he wasn’t coming back in, but we kept it close and the other guys really stepped up.”
Neither team could pull away in the third quarter. Thomas Fanning had seven of his game-high 15 points in the third, but the Eagles could only maintain a 27-23 lead at the end of the period. Both squads shot under 25 percent for the quarter and the physical play was taking its toll as shots wouldn’t fall.
In a game like this each bucket was precious. According to Dean it wouldn’t have taken much to turn the tide. “I told the kids in the locker room, you make a couple more shots at any time during the game and we are celebrating.”
North scored the first basket of the fourth quarter and no more than three points separated the teams from that point until the end of regulation.
South’s Fanning hit a layup with 1:28 left that put the Eagles up 33-32, but freshman Aaron Pickel hit a free throw with under a minute to play to tie the score, and after a few more missed shots, the game went to overtime.
After trading a couple of baskets, Pickel hit a layup to give the Cougars a 37-35 lead, but Ty VanSickle buried a corner trey to put South up by one at 38-37. Then Chris Murray answered with three-pointer of his own to put the Cougars on top 40-38.
“It (Murray’s three-pointer) was huge. VanSickle hit the three, then Chris came back and hit that three,” McCartt said.
Dean said the same thing about his marksman in overtime.
“Ty took care of the ball, defended and hit a big shot late. He is really stepping up.”
North wouldn’t trail again as the Eagles tied the game at 40, but couldn’t get over the hump as the Cougars hit 4-of-6 free throws down the stretch for the win.
South was led by Fanning’s 15 points, while VanSickle and Arnold had seven each. North was led by Pickel’s 13 points and Murray and Evan Davies added eight points each.
The Cougars (2-0) will travel to Covenant Christian on Wednesday, while the Eagles (1-1) will play again tonight at Eminence.
SOUTH PUTNAM (40) – Fanning 4-13 6-7 15, Plunkett 1-15 2-2 4, Arnold 3-13 0-0 7, Watson 0-4 0-0 0, Scott 1-6 3-3 5, Gregory 1-3 0-0 2, VanSickle 3-5 0-0 7, Heavin 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 13-60 FG, 11-12 FT, 40 TP.
NORTH PUTNAM (44) – Murray 3-8 0-0 8, Huff 2-6 1-2 5, Davies 3-8 2-3 8, Duncan 0-5 4-4 4, An. Pickel 3-11 7-10 13, Aa.Pickel 2-7 1-2 6. Totals 13-45 FG, 15-21 FT, 44 TP.
3-point shooting – SP 3-26 (Fanning 1-4, Plunkett 0-9, Arnold 1-6, Watson 0-2, Scott 0-4, VanSickle 1-1) NP – 3-15 (Murray 2-4, Huff 0-2, Duncan 0-2, An. Pickel 0-2, Aa. Pickel 1-5) Rebounds – SP 36 (Fanning 3, Plunkett 6, Arnold 9, Watson 1, Scott 8, Vansickle 4) NP – 42 (Murray 3, Huff 4, Davies 9, Duncan 7, An. Pickel 12, Aa Pickel 3) FG Pct. – SP 21.7, NP 33.3. FT Pct. – SP 91.7, NP 71.4. Turnovers – SP 9, NP 17.