Girls Basketball



North Putnam Senior Kayla Clodfelter is named to the Hendricks Regional Health Academic All-Star Team. Kayla is seen here with her parents Leslie and Chet Clodfelter and HRH Rep. Jim Carr. Click the link to read the story




Emilee Henninger (31) passes to Kaitilin Mindiola in the championship game. Mindiola left in the second half with a facial injury.

SPEEDWAY--North Putnam missed 17 consecutive shots to open up the second half in Saturday's Speedway Basketball Invitational championship before junior forward Taylor Nauert hit a mid-range jump shot.

The North Putnam girls' basketball team finished second in this invite after getting to the championship game via a win against the Fall Creek Academy Engineers. After trailing by one at halftime in the final game, a cold streak crumbled the chances the Cougars had at winning the hardware.

Getting to the championship was virtually an easy task for the Cougars. The Engineers have had only one winning season in their nine-year program and rank 410th in the state. The Cougars won 34-5.

North Putnam (2-11 0-1 WCC) played it conservative with Fall Creek (0-12) by putting up 24 in the first half and only giving up three.

"We don't want to embarrass anybody," coach Jim Spencer said. "That's not in our game. We don't want to do that and we hope others won't do it to us."

Of the five points the Engineers scored, four were scored by Cashayla Miller. Destinee Page added a free throw.

The Cougars set team records for the season by not allowing Fall Creek to score in both the second and third quarters. They also had a seasonlow two turnovers in a quarter.

"We did a good job with almost everything," Spencer said. "We improved for the day, so we're completing our goal of improving each day."

Instead of pounding the ball deep, Spencer had his team run the perimeter and kill time. Their scoring was cut down in the second half to only ten points because of the strategy.

Spencer's attitude toward the Engineers was respectful and by the fourth quarter he had all his reserves in. Of the nine Cougars to play eight scored. Nauert led the team with eight and she and Emilee Henninger both had eight rebounds.

"We had great teamwork," Spencer said.

The team was 17 of 33 from the floor in the game and of the made field goals 10 were assisted between six different players. Nauert had three.

"We had a great game," Spencer said. "It was fun for our kids. We hit a lot of shots and a game like this helped us all the way around. Hopefully it will be beneficial in our next game."

The hosts of the tournaments, the Speedway Sparkplugs (3-10 1-3 ICC), were paired with the Cougars in the championship game because of a win over the University Trailblazers (3-8).

The game started with back-to-back layup misses by Sparkplugs' Tina Wallace and Nauert en route to a 36-15 win.

"We just couldn't hit shots," Spencer said. "The shots just didn't go our way."

Wallace opened the scoring with the game's first four points. She had 13 total on 7 of 13 shooting.

Nauert cut that lead in half with a put back off a Cougar miss, but they could not get any closer in the first quarter. Speedway drug out the lead to five off of a Yazmin Cross three.

Excitement permeated through the second quarter as the Cougars regained the lead.

With 2:04 remaining in the first half, senior Kaitlin Mindiola powered up an offensive rebound and made the shot while being fouled. This tied the game at nine and she had a chance to give her team the lead. She missed the free throw.

"She (Mindiola) is a great player for us," Spencer said. "Always giving it all she's got. She made a great play and it put us in a great position."

Momentum started to swing North Putnam's way and after turning the Sparkplugs over, Henninger had one of her game-high six assists to Nauert, which put the Cougars up by two on an open layup, 11-9.

"We did really well passing the ball," Spencer said. "We may have forced it a little bit here and then, but Henninger stepped up for us. She made some great plays and put us in a position to score."

An unfortunate event followed to end the half for North Putnam. Wallace banked in a three pointer while she was being fouled by senior Morgan Smith. This gave the Speedway a chance to go up by two at half, but she air balled the free throw.

The Cougars were down 12-11.

Everything went down hill for the Cougars in the second half. They made the right choices, played good defense, but they missed 17 straight shots and did not score before 5:05 left in the game when Taylor Nauert hit a jump shot on an inbounds play from Henninger. Morgan Smith, who had six in the first game, scored the only other bucket in the half.

"We took good shots," Spencer said. "There are just days where they don't fall."

Speedway senior Madison McCaughey had eight points in the half including six of the first eight. Six of those were put backs from offensive rebounds.

After a complete turnaround from the first game, 2 of 23 second-half shooting and only going 1 of 9 from the foul line in the game proved to be the difference. North Putnam had proved it could stay with Speedway in the opening half, but when the Cougars missed so much in the second half it opened up transition opportunities for the Sparkplugs and they took advantage. Wallace, Cross and Regan Hubbard all had layups on their end of the court.

"When you try to go for offensive rebounds you leave the back court open," Spencer said. "You can't go for an offensive rebound and guard transition at the same time. Usually a few shots go in, but they didn't for us. We never took a bad shot, but it just didn't go our way."

Had North Putnam hit shots the game could have been changed entirely.

"I am very proud of the girls," Spencer said. "They played really well all day. We've battled the flu over break and for our kids to come in and play the way they did today shows a lot."

The Cougars will square off in one of their tougher contests of the season Thursday night against Fountain Central. The Mustangs are 9-1 on the year with a 14-point win over Crawfordsville. The Cougars lost their first game of the year to Crawfordsville.

"It's going to be a tough contest," Spencer said. "No doubt about it. We will have to get to practice this week and work on some things."

At Speedway
Fall Creek 3 0 0 2--5
North Putnam 12 12 8 2--34

Fall Creek: Miller 4, Page 1, Capler 0, Kelly 0, Scruggs 0, Rashid 0.
North Putnam: Nauert 8, Clodfelter 6, Mindiola 6, Mo. Smith 6, Henninger 2, Millican 2, Parent 2, Ma. Smith 2, Evans 0.

Fall Creek: Miller 8, Called 2, Kelly 1.
North Putnam: Henninger 8, Nauert 8, Evans 4, Parent 2, Ma. Smith 2, Clodfelter 1, Millican 1, Mindiola 1.

North Putnam 2 9 0 4--15
Speedway 7 5 14 10-- 36


North Putnam: Nauert 9, Mo. Smith 4, Mindiola 2, Clodfelter 0, Evans 0, Henninger 0, Millican 0, Parent 0, Ma. Smith 0.
Speedway: Wallace 13, McCaughey 8,Hubbard 6, Cross 5, Dailey 2, Sherfick 2. Sullivan 0.

North Putnam: Mindiola 9, Nauert 4, Ma. Smith 4, Evans 3, Henninger 3, Clodfelter 2.
Speedway: McCaughey 9, Cross 4, Dailey 3, Moore 3, Hubbard 2, Wallace 2, Sullivan 1.


CAYUGA-- It is finals week for North Putnam High School and the girls' basketball team took a break from studying to travel to North Vermillion to take on the Falcons Tuesday night. After falling behind by 10 in the third quarter the Cougars rallied to get within one but lost a heartbreaker, 27-21.

The Falcons (7-3) opened up the contest with juniors Rhiannon Grubbs and Kinsey West hitting threes on the first two possessions. The Cougar (1-9) defense held solid and only allowed those two buckets.

North Putnam could not get a basket to go and leading scorer Taylor Nauert went out midway through the first quarter with two fouls. They finally scored on a Kaitlin Mindiola and-one with 45 seconds left to end the first down 6-3.

"We played well," coach Jim Spencer said. "We try to get better every game and we played well. We got a few breaks and we didn't always convert, but we kept it manageable."

The last time this happened to the Cougars, Nauert going to the bench because of fouls, the Cougars were outscored by 15 in under three minutes.

The improvements Spencer has worshipped all year showed off because only went down 10-7 at halftime.

Senior Ricki Evans came in and played well off the bench for Nauert. She had three rebounds and two assists.

"Anytime a key player goes out, tensions rise," Spencer said. "I'll say it again. Our goal is to get better and going from being down by 17 to three is as good as it gets. I'm proud of the girls."

Nauert came back in to start the third, but she turned it over twice on the first two possessions which led to Falcon scoring. Junior Sierra Grube had four points and two assists in the quarter as they went up by 10, 21-11.

"We had a few mistakes that they took advantage of," Spencer said. "In games like this you can't do that."

Spencer gathered his team around him and told them they had to do something quick. He dialed up an alley-oop style play for Nauert and junior Madisyn Smith made a perfect faked shot to Nauert for the open layup.

"We wanted to see if we could execute that play, and it worked," Spencer said.

Nauert responded by hitting a three off a pass from senior Kayla Clodfelter and Mindiola hit a shot as well.

The Cougars found themselves down one without even letting North Vermilion score.

"This team does better and better every game," Spencer said. "Before we would find ourselves down even farther and tonight things turned our way. It was a great game."

With a minute and a half left the Cougars turned the ball over and Spencer called timeout to regroup. The Falcons had still not scored.

North Vermillion passed the ball trying to take time off the clock and their coach called for no shots.

Senior Shawnacee Bowman however did not get the memo and while she was 0-for-6 on the night shooting she shot a three and drained it. The most unlikely event took place and the Falcons had scored their first points in the quarter with 55 seconds left.

"They were bound to score at some point," Spencer said. "We didn't expect it to happen that way, but we have to be ready for everything. She (Bowman) made a good shot."

Down four the Cougars couldn't score any points and they put Grube on the line. She sealed the game off, making both of her free throws, 27-21.

"Some games go our way and others won't," Spencer said. "Tonight we seen both. We responded well and really improved. Things just went against us in the third and the last few seconds. We have practice twice before we play Cascade Friday. Hopefully we will fix our mistakes and finish out there."

The Cougars will play Cascade Friday at 6 p.m. in the first game of a boys-girls doubleheader.

At North Vermilion
North Putnam 3 4 4 11-21
North Vermillion 6 4 11 6-27

North Putnam: Nauert 9, Mindiola 5, Smith 4, Clodfelter 2, Henninger 1, Evans 0.
North Vermillion: Grubbs 10, Grube 9, Bowman 3, West 3, Vicars 2, Benskin 0, Lewis 0.

North Putnam: Henninger 8, Clodfelter 4, Nauert 4, Evans 3, Smith 3, Mindiola 2.
North Vermilion: West 5, Grubbs 4, Lewis 3, Vicars 3, Bowman 2, Grube 2.