NEW MARKET - The 2005-06 season didn't start the way the North Putnam High School boys' basketball team wanted as Cougars lost their season opener to the Southmont Mounties, 63-51.
The night didn't start bad for Cougars when as they only trailed 14-11 after one quarter of play, until Adam Welch of Southmont got hot, hitting back-to-back three pointers that started the Mounties on their 21-12 second-quarter run. On top of outscoring the Cougars, 21-12, Southmont put on a full court press that caused problems for the Cougars the rest of the game.
"We knew they were going to run the press, but with a new system and program, we got to the point where we weren't reacting fast enough to what we were thinking and that to be expected," NPHS Coach Wes Peek said.
At the half the Mounties led, 35-23, but the Cougars outrebounded the Mounties, 10-8 in the first half and went 7-for-26 from the floor.
In the third period, the Mounties put another knot in the Cougars rope when they switched from a man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone, shutting down Lee Fordice from North Putnam. Fordice only scored two points in the third quarter and a total four for the second half, scoring eight in the first half for the Cougars.
The Mounties continued to press the Cougars, forcing them to turn the ball over several times, resulting in fast break points. Southmont stole the ball seven times in the third quarter.
After three quarters of play, the Mounties led 50-34, but the Cougars weren't going down without a fight. They outscored the Mounties, 17-13, in the fourth quarter with the majority of their points coming in the last four minutes of the game. North Putnam turned up the defense on Southmont thanks to Jake Mullis who snagged the ball from the Mounties three times and scored on each one. Riley McGaughey became active again in the paint, scoring two points and three from the charity stripe.
Despite losing the season opener, Peek was happy with his team.
"We got off to as good of a start as we could ask for with a new program an the kids thought more than they reacted, but that's to be expected. That's the learning curve," Peek said. "Southmont was a real good with their dribble penetration and its outside shooting and we didn't adjust well to it."
McGaughey led the Cougars' offense with 16 points, followed by Jake Mullis who checked out with 13 points for the night. Fordice had 12 points while Tyler Trent chipped in five and Griffen Dahlstrom had two points. Cory Fordice finished with one point.
In junior varsity action, the Cougars lost 36-24.
North Putnam will be back in action on Dec. 2 when they take part in the Putnam County Tournament.
N.Putnam 11 12 11 17 - 51
Southmont 14 21 15 13 - 63
NP - C. Fordice 1 1-2, 1, L. Fordice 6 0-0 12, McGaughey 6 3-3, 16, B. Dahlstrom 0 2-2, 2, Mullis 3 7-8 13, Trent 2 0-0, 5, G. Dahlstrom 1 0-0, 2.
SM - Price 1 0-0 3, Rhoads 1 0-0 3, Froedge 6 0-0, 13, Martin 5-2-3, 12, Welcher 9 0-0, 21, Kellie 4 1-2, 9, Burkett 0 2-3, 2, Jeffries 1 0-0 2.
3PT- NP 2 (McGaughey, Trent), SM 6, (Welcher) 3. Rebounds - NP 19 (McGaughey 6) SM 10 (Kellie 4). Steals - NP 13 (Mullis 7), SM 14 (Welcher 5). Total Fouls - NP 16, SM 15.
Next Game - The Cougars play in the Putnam County Tournament on Dec 2. at Greencastle at 6:30p.m.