Bragging rights and a chance to win a trophy early in the season were up for grabs Friday night for the opening night of the Putnam County girls' basketball tournament.
In the opening game Friday night, North Putnam knocked off Cloverdale, 50-36.
In the nightcap, South Putnam defended its home court, turning back Greencastle, 50-31.
North Putnam knocks off Cloverdale
Coming into the opening game of the Putnam County Girls' Basketball Tournament, Cloverdale coach J.J. Wade believed North Putnam would press on defense and look to get up and down the floor.
His fears and beliefs were correct, as turnovers doomed the Clovers early and often, as North Putnam advanced to Saturday night's final with a 50-36 victory.
The win was the fourth in a row for the Cougars, who improved to 4-2 and will take on South Putnam around 7:45 p.m. Saturday in the final. Cloverdale dropped to 0-5 and will play Greencastle at 6 p.m. for third place Saturday.
The Cougars came out and set the tone early in the contest, racing out to a 5-0 game that stretched into a 15-6 advantage at the conclusion of the first quarter. North Putnam would continue to force turnovers to pad its lead, but could never truly pull away due to turnovers of its own.
When the first half concluded, North Putnam held a 28-17 lead, as sophomore point guard Jenna Day paced the Cougars with 8 points.
Cloverdale coach J.J. Wade kept his team in the locker room for an extended period during the half.
However, North Putnam's defensive intensity only intensified, as the Cougars watched their lead stretch to 32-17 following a three pointer from Samie Hoops.
Hoops would drain her third three pointer of the game moments later, pushing North Putnam ahead 38-17.
The barrage would continue for the Cougars, who built a 45-28 lead after three quarters.
Cloverdale tried to claw its way back into the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 11, but turnovers and Lexi Daigle proved to be too much for the Clovers to overcome down the stretch.
North Putnam saw nine players score, as Lexi Daigle led the way with 15 points. Hoops chipped in with nine and Jenna Day added eight.
Cloverdale, on the other hand, was led by Emily Mann, who scored 16 points before fouling out. Millie Haga scored 10 and Sarah Nichols chipped in with nine.
South Putnam tames Tiger Cubs
With starting power forward Joscelyn Pilcher sidelined with an injury, South Putnam was looking for someone to step up.
And, the Eagles got an answer very early as junior guard Chlara Pistelli got the offense going and South Putnam's defense chipped in early in its matchup against Greencastle.
The combination of Pistelli's nine points in the first half and South Putnam's 2-3 zone early paid off nicely down the stretch, as South Putnam pulled off a 50-31 win. With the victory, South Putnam improves to 3-2 and snap a two game skid, while Greencastle drops to 0-6.
The host Eagles wasted little time establishing themselves as a favorite in the tournament, racing out to a quick 7-2 lead that would swell to 14-3 at the conclusion of the first quarter.
A three pointer by Drew Gardner put South Putnam ahead 20-9 early in the second quarter. The Tiger Cubs would trim the deficit to 10 following a three pointer by Ali Dobbs, but that would be as close as Greencastle would get in the first half, as South Putnam sent both teams to the lockers with a 28-14 advantage.
In that first half, Pistelli recorded nine points to led the Eagles, while Dobbs paced Greencastle with 6 points.
The halftime break did little to slow down the Eagles, who continued their scoring ways, racing out to a 35-16 advantage, forcing Greencastle to use a timeout very quickly in the third quarter. After three, South Putnam would find itself ahead 42-24.
Drew Gardner led the way for South Putnam with 13 points, while Pistelli added 11 and both Madison Gardner and Danae Cline chipped in with 10.
For Greencastle, Evelyn Briones led the way with 10, while both Madi Plew and Aleeyah Johnson scored seven for the Tiger Cubs.