Despite Jake Mullis and Riley McGaughey combining for 43 points, the North Putnam boys' varsity basketball team couldn't get past a young and tough Rockville team Thursday.
The Rox defeated the Cougars, 61-59, in a last-minute thriller at Rockville.
Rockville was led by two freshmen talented players in R.J. Mahurin and Matt King. Mahurin scored a team high 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while King had 10 points, five rebounds and two steals in the game.
"They're young, they're hungry and they play extremely smart," North Putnam Coach Wes Peek said. "In the years to come they're going to be a very, very good team."
The Cougars battled back from a consistent deficit throughout the game, only to come up short in the waning moments.
North Putnam trailed 10 points three minutes into the third quarter, before going on a 7-2 run to end the period, facing a mere 50-49 deficit.
The Rox stretched the lead to as many as eight points with four minutes remaining in the game, before the Cougars went on another run to bring the game within striking distance.
McGaughey hit a three-pointer and Mullis followed with a quick layup, bringing North Putnam within four points at 61-57 with just more than one minute remaining.
Tyler Trent knocked down two clutch free throws 30 seconds later, and the Cougars were down only two points with 37.4 remaining.
When Brayden Dahlstrom responded by stealing the inbound pass, it appeared momentum was in North Putnam's favor.
However, the ensuing layup attempt rimmed out.
As the ball bounced toward the baseline, McGaughey lunged, turned and threw it off a Rockville player. Instead of going out of bounds, the ball rocketed off the players' leg to the scorers table. Another Rockville player lunged, saved the ball and threw it to the opposing sideline, before being finally grabbed by Rockville's Ryan Bridge in bounds with with only 13 seconds remaining.
The Cougars fouled, putting freshmen Matt King on the line with 12 seconds left and a two point Rockville lead.
King missed, but North Putnam failed to convert on the following possession. When Rockville's Brodie Burgess grabbed the rebound, he was fouled and put to the free-throw line with 2.9 seconds remaining with a two point lead.
After air-balling the free-throw, the Cougars got one last shot.
However, North Putnam failed to get the ball down the court, and Mullis was left with a desperation long three at the buzzer.
Mullis scored a game-high 25 points on 9-of-16 field goals, while McGaughey had 18 points and 11 rebounds. Lee Fordice added 11 points for the Cougars.
North Putnam led 15-14 after the first quarter, before being outscored 20-16 in the second quarter.
Rockville hit 25 field goals in the game, using a strong inside-out game to set good looks at the basket.
'We just didn't defend them,' Peek said. 'Over and over we got backcut.'
North Putnam falls to 6-9 on the season, while Rockville improves to 11-8, winners of three straight games.
The Cougars host Tri-West Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
'We're going to have to play better than we did tonight,' Peek said. 'They're an exceptional basketball team.'
North Putnam 15 16 18 10 -- 59
Rockville 14 20 16 11 -- 61
North Putnam -- Trent 0 3-4 3, Ensor 1 0-0 2, L. Fordice 5 1-2 11, B. Dahlstrom 0 0-1 0, McGaughey 6 2-4 18, Mullis 9 4-5 25. Totals FG 21, FT 11-16, TP 59.
Rockville -- A. Bridge 4 2-2 10, King 1 2-2 4, Mahurin 9 2-2 21, R. Bridge 4 2-3 10, Clapp 1 0-0 2, Vauters 3 1-2 8, Burgess 3 0-1 6. Totals FG 25, FT 9-12, TP 61.
3 pt. -- North Putnam 7 (McGaughey 4), Rockville 2 (Mahurin 1, Vauters 1), Rebounds -- North Putnam 29 (McGaughey 11), Rockville 26 (Mahurin 5, A. Bridge 5), Assists -- North Putnam 8 (Trent 3, Mullis 3), Rockvile 13 (Vauters 5), Steals -- North Putnam 13 (Mullis 4), Rockville 8 (Mahurin 3).
Next game -- North Putnam hosts Tri-West Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.