MONROVIA -- With seconds left on the clock, Riley McGaughey pulled up from behind the three-point line -- swoosh, nothing but net and the North Putnam High School boys' basketball team moved on to win, 62-59, Friday over West Central Conference foe Monrovia.
Even though McGaughey's shot won the game, the play wasn't set up for him.
"The play was actually set up for Jake Mullis to drive in and make a play," NPHS Coach Wes Peek said. "But Jake made a great read and Riley hit the shot."
The Cougars are now 4-4 overall and 1-1 in the WCC with their one conference loss coming from Cascade.
"(Friday), Monrovia is the best team we've played and they will be giving some team in this conference some problems," Peek said.
This was also the first time in 10 years that North Putnam has beaten Monrovia and it was win well earned.
Both teams scrapped it out from the very beginning. The Cougars got up, 4-2, on the Bulldogs early in the first period, but the Bulldogs bounced back. They answered back with an 8-0 run courtesy of Scott Bowers, Brock Benefiel and Kevin Graves. The Bulldogs put themselves up by six, 10-4, after their little run, but North Putnam battled back and at the end of the quarter, Monrovia only led by one.
In the second quarter neither team was able to break away the other, but one thing the Cougars did do was crash the boards. North Putnam outrebounded the Bulldogs 9-3 in the second quarter, allowing them to out-score them 18-16, giving them the 37-36 lead at the break.
The Cougars had a good first half, but at the second one would be the real test.
Things looked bright for North Putnam at the start of the third quarter with a McGaughey three-pointer, followed by another one from Mullis, but things got dark for the Cougars fast. After Mullis' three-pointer the Cougars didn't hit a field goal for the next minute and a half, and the Bulldogs lit the scoreboard up. The Bulldogs posted 11 points in that minute and a half. The Cougars scored one point in that time frame and that was from McGaughey when he got a freebie from the charity stripe. McGaughey finally broke the Cougars dry spell when he nailed a three-point play with 3:36 left in the quarter. The Bulldogs outscored the Cougars 17-11 in the third quarter and gave themselves a 53-48 lead.
The fourth quarter proved to be the best quarter for the Cougars. They outscored the Bulldogs 14-6 and never allowed the Bulldogs to score one field goal. All six of Monrovia's points came from the free-throw line and that is something that Peek was happy about.
"We had plenty of times to fall apart, but they stayed together," Peek said. "We were down by nine at one point and we were able to whittle it away and gave ourselves a chance.
"Monrovia played well and I was impressed with how Coach Samson and his ability to keep a team like Monrovia playing hard."
The Cougars were led by Mullis who had 22 points followed by McGaughey who had 17 points. Tyler Trent chipped in nine points while Lee. Fordice put up eight points and his brother Cory scored six.
The Cougars are back in action today when they travel to Fountain Central for a 6 p.m. start.
Monrovia 20 16 17 6 -- 59
North Putnam 19 18 11 14 -- 62
NP -- Ensor 0 0-1 0, C. Fordoce 3 0-0 6, L. Fordice 3 2-2 8, McGaughey 5 4-5 17, B Dahlstrom 0 0-0 0, Mullis 6 1-1 22, Trent 3 3-4 9. Totals -- FG 20-48, FT 10-13, TP 62.
MO -- Speck 2 1-2 5, Smith 0 0-0 0, Brooks 0 3-4 2, Martin 0 0-0 0, Bowers 3 0-0 6, Steward 0 0-0 0, Sampson 0 0-0 0, Dirlam 0 0-0 0, Benefiel 3 2-2 9, Graves 5 3-4 13, Grismore 7 7-8 21, Hadley 1 0-0 2. Totals -- FG 21- 46, FT 16-20, TP 59.
3pt -- NP 8 ( Mullis 5), MO 2 (Two players with one each). Steals -- NP 5 (Mullis 2), MO 4 (Grismore 3). Rebounds -- NP 29 (L. Fordice 9), MO 19 (Grismore 8). Assists -- NP 3 (three players with one each), MO 4 (four players with one each). Blocks -- NP 2 (McGaughey 2), MO 0. Total Fouls -- NP 17, MO 15. Fouled Out -- L. Fordice (NP)
Next Game -- The Cougars travel to Fountain Central today for a 6 p.m. game