ROACHDALE -- The North Putnam Cougars boys' basketball team hosted the Fountain Central Mustangs Saturday night, hoping to continue its momentum after defeating West Central Conference foe Monrovia the previous evening, 64-61.
The Mustangs entered the game, hoping for the same thing after convincingly defeating South Vermillion, 79-62, the previous evening.
Both teams played well on both ends of the floor in the first half, but North Putnam's defense was able to control the game in the second half, as the Cougars improved their season record to 6-3 by handing Fountain Central its seventh loss of the season, 62-49.
North Putnam outscored Fountain Central, 16-14, in the first quarter as Zach Hedrick scored nine points in the first six minutes of the game, then he was forced to the bench after being whistled for his second foul.
Tyler Trent added five points in the stanza and Jake Mullis scored the first two of his game-high 23 points with 10 seconds left in the period.
The Cougars extended their lead to 29-26 at halftime as Brayden Dahlstrom, Trent, and Mullis combined for 13 points in the second quarter as North Putnam was both moving the ball and rebounding well as Mullis and Dahlstrom both passed for assists and Brian Blaydes grabbed five of his game-high nine rebounds in the quarter.
Fountain Central's Rodney Carver scored seven points in the final three minutes of the stanza to keep the Mustangs close to the Cougars at halftime, however North Putnam tightened-up their defense in the third quarter, limiting the visitors to five points in the period.
North Putnam led 39-31 at the end of the third quarter.
The Cougars had their best offensive balance and efficiency in the fourth quarter, with Blaydes, Raine Young, Trent, Mullis and Dahlstrom combining for 23 points, giving North Putnam its largest lead of the game, 62-44, when Cougar coach Wes Peek pulled his starters with 1:16 left in the game.
North Putnam won the game by hitting 64 percent of its shots from the field, 68 percent of its two-points shots, and 50 percent of its three-point shots, hitting 84 percent from the free throw line, outrebounding Fountain Central 23-17, blocking seven Mustang shots, and by dishing out 12 assists versus five for the visitors.
"We were able to score tonight and when you put the ball in the basket and get stops, you build leads," Peek said after the game. "We run our kids hard in drills during practices and our guys like to press all of the time so our conditioning this weekend and even last weekend was really good.
"We didn't cover the baseline very well in our 3-2 defense in the first half. We came out after the half and the only adjustments we made was to issue a challenge to our guys to do a good job of making sure we knew where Carver was on the floor all of the time and our goal was to hold them to 16 points in the second half. Before we subbed, we were pretty close to that," Peek added.
North Putnam had two players who scored in double figures. Mullis led the way with 23, and Trent had 10. Hedrick and Dahlstrom followed with nine each, Blaydes had three, and Young closed out the Cougar scoring with two points.
Blaydes pulled down nine rebounds, and Mullis grabbed five. Young had a game-high three blocked shots.
In the junior varsity game, North Putnam lost to Fountain Central, 41-22. Cory Dean led the scoring with eight.
The Cougars (6-3, 1-1 WCC) host rival Southmont Tuesday night. The junior varsity game will begin at 6 p.m.
At North Putnam
North Putnam 16 13 10 23 -- 62
Fountain Central 14 12 5 18 -- 49
North Putnam (6-3, 1-1 WCC) -- Young 0-3 2-2 2, Mullis 9-10 4-4 23, Blaydes 1-4 0-0 3, Trent 5-8 5-7 16, Dean 0-0 0-0 0, Hedrick 3-4 2-2 9, Dahlstrom 3-4 3-4 9, Adams 0-0 0-0 0, Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Lasiter 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-33 FG, 16-19 FT, 62 TP.
Fountain Central (5-7, 2-1 WRC) -- McTaggert 3-7 4-4 10, J. Krout 3-9 0-0 9, Alexander 3-6 0-0 6, Carver 4-12 0-0 9, Hunt 2-8 2-3 6, A. Krout 1-3 0-0 2, Payton 2-5 2-2 7. Totals 18-50 FG, 8-9, FT, 49 TP.
3-pt. FG - NP 4-8 (Mullis 1-1, Blaydes 1-2, Trent 1-2, Hedrick 1-2, Dahlstrom 0-1), FC 5-20 (McTaggert 0-2, J. Krout 3-8, Carver 1-7, Payton 1-3). Rebounds - NP 23 (Young 1, Mullis 5, Blaydes 9, Trent 2, Dean 1, Hedrick 2, Dahlstrom 2, Jones 1), FC 17 (McTaggert 2, J. Krout 3, Alexander 2, Carver 2, Hunt 5, A. Krout 2, Payton 1). Blocks -- NP 7 (Young 3, Blaydes 2, Hedrick 1, Jones 1), FC 0. Assists -- NP 12 (Young 1, Mullis 3, Blaydes 1, Dahlstrom 7), FC 5 (Alexander 1, Carver 2, Hunt 1, Payton 1). Steals -- NP 7 (Young 1, Mullis 4, Blaydes 2), FC 6 (McTaggert 1, J. Krout 1, Carver 1, Hunt 1, A. Krout 2). Total fouls -- NP 9, FC 16. Fouled out -- A. Krout. Turnovers - NP 12, FC 9.
Junior Varsity -- North Putnam lost, 41-22.
Next game -- The Cougars (6-3, 1-1 WCC) host rival Southmont Tuesday night. The junior varsity game will begin at 6 p.m.