With sectional play starting next week, the North Putnam boys' basketball team is looking to pick up momentum come tournament time.
After losing six of seven games, the Cougars bounced back Friday, defeating Covington, 55-50, Friday at North Putnam.
Senior big-man Lee Fordice led the Cougars with 17 points, including 16 in the second half alone, and seven rebounds, while Colby Ensor added 11 points to the effort.
North Putnam held off a second-half Covington surge, which started midway through the third quarter.
Down 42-24 with 2:30 remaining in the third period, the Trojans went on 8-2 run to bring the Cougar lead to within 12 points at 44-32.
Knocking down consistently contested shots, Covington got as close as three points at 53-50 with just 16 seconds remaining.
"You let a guy get a shot and he gets some confidence," North Putnam Coach Wes Peek said. "And it gets contagious. The next guy hits a shot, and all of a sudden everything they put up in the air went in."
Covington shot 16-of-24 in the second half, going 67 percent from the field.
However with the game on the line, Jake Mullis hit free throws, sealing the game for the Cougars.
Mullis ended with eight points and three steals in the game.
North Putnam started slow, as Covington jumped to an early 8-3 lead. But when Brayden Dahlstrom found Cory Fordice for two points down low with 2:39 remaining in the first period, the Cougars started a 17-2 run that gave them a 22-12 lead early in the second period.
Cory Fordice scored all six of his points in that stretch alone, while Colby Ensor added nine of his 11 points in the four-minute frame.
Peek is used to seeing the bulk of the scoring confined to Lee Fordice, Mullis and Riley McGaughey. He was pleased to see more players get involved in the action Friday.
"We've had three guys consistently score, and we haven't had a fourth," Peek said. "If we can get production like that every night, we're going to be tough to beat. That's the balance we've been hoping for."
The Cougars went 22-of-37 from the field, shooting 59 percent for the night, while the
Trojans went 22-of-46 for 48 shooting from the field.
North Putnam only committed nine turnovers in the game, while Covington also took good care of the basketball, only turning the ball over 12 times in the contest.
"Those guys are good," Peek said. "That's a very good Covington team. The stuff they run is difficult to guard. They backcut you. They have long possessions. They have guys all over the floor that can shoot it."
The Cougars improve to 7-10 on the season, and play at Western Boone today at 7:30 p.m.
"You can hear the locker room," Peek said after the game. "They're excited, and you know, our season is now 0-0 again. We've got to take one game at a time. And I know that's cliche, but that's the way you've got to play it."
At North Putnam
Covington 12 5 15 18 -- 50
North Putnam 17 14 13 11 -- 55
Covington -- Riley 3-5 0-0 7, White 6-9 0-0 13, Cotten 5-14 1-2 12, Willis 1-2 0-0 2, Talbert 3-10 1-2 7, Scrogham 3-4 0-0 7, Balch 1-2 0-0 2. Totals FG 22-46, FT 2-4 TP 50.
North Putnam -- Trent 3-3 0-0 6, Ensor 5-5 0-0 11, L. Fordice 6-12 5-7 17, McGaughey 2-7 1-2 5, C. Fordice 3-4 0-1 6, Mullis 2-5 4-4 8, B. Dahlstrom 0-0 0-0 0, G. Dahlstrom 1-1 0-0 2. Totals FG 22-37, FT 10-14, TP 55.
3 pt. -- Covington 4 (Riley, White, Cotten, Scrogham 1), North Putnam 1 (Ensor 1), Rebounds -- Covington 17 (White 6), North Putnam 19 (L. Fordice 7), Assists -- Covington 11 (Willis 5), North Putnam 11 (McGaughey 4), Steals -- Covington 7 (Cotten 5), North Putnam 6 (Mullis 3), Turnovers -- Covington 12, North Putnam 9.
Next game -- North Putnam plays at Western Boone today at 7:30 p.m.