Big runs by Warriors doom Cougars

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
North Putnam’s James Duncan splits two Covenant Christian defenders on Wednesday night.
Banner Graphic/JOEY BENNETT

INDIANAPOLIS — If North Putnam boys’ basketball coach Collin McCartt could script in advance how a game was going to be played in terms of style, he wouldn’t have picked the style of Wednesday night’s game at Covenant Christian.

The host Warriors pressed relentlessly, crashed the boards with reckless abandon and hit an incredible percentage from 3-point range in recording a 96-45 win to hand the Cougars their first loss.

Covenant Christian didn’t take long to establish its superiority on this night, taking a 12-0 lead before two minutes had elapsed off the clock. The Cougars, to their credit, began taking better care of the ball and actually cut the deficit to 26-17 at the first stop.

The Warriors scored the first nine points of the second quarter, and the Cougars didn’t score until a pair of Evan Davies free throws with 4:21 left in the half.

Covenant Christian expanded its lead back to 17 at 47-30 going into halftime.

Utilizing only six players to that point, the Cougars tired and allowed Covenant Christian to open the second half on a 20-1 run. All of a sudden, the Warriors led 67-31 midway through the period.

Things didn’t get much better from there for North Putnam, as CC led 78-42 after three periods and won the last quarter by an 18-3 margin.

McCartt and his staff had several issues with North’s rebounding, passing, defensive and general toughness throughout the contest.

Still, the veteran coach knows his team can learn from this disastrous outing and hopes his players use it to their advantage.

“We definitely got off to a bad start,” McCartt noted, “but at times we got ourselves back in a position to be in the game. They picked up a technical foul toward the end of the first half, and I thought that could have been a turning point.”

A Covenant Christian player was whistled for what appeared to be unsportsmanlike conduct after blocking a Cougar’s shot, and Andrew Pickel hit one of two free throws to cut the deficit to 39-23 with 2:51 left in the half.

The teams played the rest of that quarter evenly, but whatever momentum that stretch provided dissipated at halftime.

“I don’t think we took advantage of that,” he said. “Obviously it’s a tough game for our kids all the way around. It was a very physical game, and we didn’t react very well to it.

“Obviously it snowballed in a hurry on us,” McCartt added. “A lot of it had to do with the fact that they just played harder than us. We didn’t take care of the ball, and they did exactly what they wanted to do with the press — it sped us up and turned us over a ridiculous amount.”

The loss was North’s first after two wins to open the season, and McCartt said he will find out a lot about his team with a tough double-weekend coming up.

“I think the most important thing is where we go from here,” he said. “It wasn’t a conference game and it wasn’t a sectional game. It is a game you truly can learn from.

“We still have guys who are either new to varsity basketball or new to their expanded roles, and it’s going to take some time,” McCartt added. “We certainly can’t pout.”

McCartt noted his squad hosts a “very good” Sullivan team on Friday night in a conference game, and then plays at high-scoring Parke Heritage on Saturday night.

“We have to take a lot of things from this game, but it’s nothing you can dwell on,” he said. “We have to learn what we can and forget about it.”

NORTH PUTNAM (45) — An.Pickel 4-7 2-6 10, Duncan 2-5 0-0 6, Murray 3-4 1-2 7, Davies 3-5 2-2 8, Huff 0-1 2-2 2, Aa.Pickel3-9 1-1 9, J.Huffman 0-0 1-2 1, A.Huffman 0-0 0-1 0, Smith 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 16-33 FG,9-16 FT, 45 TP

COVENANT CHRISTIAN (96) — Flatt 6-8 1-1 17, Bradley 1-3 0-0 2, Shurig 7-15 2-2 16, Fulbright 4-6 2-2 12, Hedrick 4-10 1-1 9, Bronger 2-5 0-0 4, Chukamba 0-0 2-22, Buckley 6-8 2-2 16, Maudlin 4-4 2-2 10, Riley 0-0 0-0 0, G.Shelton 1-3 0-0 2, Bradley 1-1 0-0 2, L.Shelton 1-2 0-02, Cleary 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 37-66 FG, 12-12 FT, 96 TP

North Putnam171312345
Cov. Christian2621311896

3-point shooting — North Putnam 4-11 (Duncan 2-5, Huff 0-1, Aa.Pickel 2-6), CC 10-20 (Flatt 4-5, Bradley 0-1, Shurig 2-4, Fulbright 2-3, Hedrick. 0-2, Buckley 2-2, G.Shelton 0-1). Turnovers — North Putnam 30, Covenant Christian 6.