PUTNAMVILLE -- The North Putnam Cougars boys' basketball team knew that it would have its hands full in the opening game of South Putnam Class 2A Sectional Tuesday night against the 14th ranked Tri-West Bruins.
Tri-West entered the game with a 15-5 record, while North Putnam's record was 10-9.
The Cougars had put together a game plan that would try to limit Tri-West's high-powered offense, and that worked to perfection, limiting the Bruins to 52 points in the game.
However, Tri-West's defense caused problems for North Putnam, causing the Cougars to commit 23 turnovers, and that turned out to be the difference in the game, as Tri-West advanced to the first semifinal round game against South Putnam Friday night, by ending North Putnam's season, 52-35.
North Putnam roared out of the gate, as Jake Mullis and Brayden Dahlstrom hit two 3-point shots in the first 1:17 of the game, while the Cougars' defense shut down Tri-West for the first 4:22 of the first quarter.
However, in the rest of the first period, the Bruins scored eight unanswered points, while Tri-West's defense forced the Cougars to commit six turnovers.
Tri-West led at the end of the first stanza, 8-6.
Dahlstrom hit a 2-point shot with 6:59 showing in the second quarter to tie the score at 8-all, but Tri-West held North Putnam scoreless from that point until 1:26 was left before halftime, when Dahlstrom hit another basket, and Zack Hedrick hit a 2-point shot 30 seconds later, but the Bruins would take a 22-12 lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the third quarter, Hedrick, Griffen Dahlstrom and Mullis scored for the Cougars, but North Putnam committed eight turnovers in the period, and Tri-West extended its lead to 17 points at the end of the stanza, 35-18.
North Putnam wasn't finished yet, as Brayden Dahlstrom, Mullis, Hedrick and Griffen Dahlstrom combined for 17 points in the final period, and the Cougars narrowed Tri-West's lead to 11 points, at 46-35, with 1:13 left in the game, but Tri-West went into a four-corner offense that forced North Putnam to foul to get the ball back.
The Bruins hit 4-of-5 free throws to seal the win for Tri-West, and end the Cougars' season.
North Putnam outrebounded Tri-West on both ends of the floor, and statistically, the game was even, except for turnovers, with the Cougars committing 23 versus 13 for the Bruins.
That turned out to be the difference in the game.
"I'm just so proud of those five seniors and everybody else who stepped on the floor," North Putnam coach Wes Peek said after the game. "They did what they had to do to give us a chance tonight.
"I thought that in the first half, if we could have gotten a couple more looks at the basket, we would have gotten rolling. That didn't happen, so we had to rely on our defense. I thought our defense, in a game like this, was pretty good, so I'm happy with that.
"We got the shots that we wanted, but sometimes you don't convert. That's what happens sometimes in the sectional. Tri-West shot it kind of tight early, and we were looser, and as the game went on, we tightened up a little bit. We gave up a lot of second shots and we didn't take very good care of the ball, but one thing that we have done all this year, is to continue to play hard, regardless of the score. It would have been real easy for our guys to get down like we did and quit, but they didn't do that, and they haven't done that all year. Finally, I can't say enough about our five seniors, who led us all year," Peek added.
North Putnam had two players who scored in double figures. Mullis led the way with 13, and Brayden Dahlstrom had 12.
Hedrick followed with six, and Griffen Dahlstrom closed out the Cougar scoring with four points.
Griffen Dahlstrom pulled down a game-high eight rebounds, and Hedrick was close behind with seven. Mullis had five boards, and Tyler Trent and Brayden Dahlstrom grabbed three each.
This was the final basketball game in a Cougar uniform for North Putnam's seniors Max Schreiber, Jake Mullis, Brian Blaydes, Tyler Trent and Brayden Dahlstrom.
At South Putnam
South Putnam Sectional
North Putnam 6 6 6 17 -- 35
Tri-West 8 14 13 17 -- 52
North Putnam (10-10, 2-4 WCC) -- Young 0-0 0-0 0, Schreiber 0-0 0-0 0, Mullis 7-16 0-1 13, Alcorn 0-0 0-0 0, Blaydes 0-4 0-0 0, Trent 0-5 0-0 0, Ban 0-0 0-0 0, G. Dahlstrom 2-5 0-0 4, Hedrick 3-6 0-0 6, B. Dahlstrom 5-8 1-3 12, Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Dean 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-45 FG, 1-4 FT, 35 TP.
Tri-West (16-5, 5-2 SAC) -- Pfeifer 0-0 0-0 0, Tanselle 0-1 0-0 0, Ricks 3-6 2-2 8, Robertson 5-7 0-0 10, Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Allen 5-6 0-0 10, Lowe 1-5 2-2 4, Pugliese 0-0 0-0 0, Moses 4-13 3-4 11, Thompson 1-3 0-0 2, Bruce 2-8 2-6 7. Totals 21-49 FG, 9-14 FT, 52 TP.
3-pt. FG - NP 4-14 (Mullis 3-6), TW 1-9 (Bruce 1-4). Rebounds - NP 26 (G. Dahlstrom 8), TW 24 (Ricks 5, Moses 5). Blocks -- NP 2 (B. Dahlstrom 2), TW 2 (Robertson 1, Bruce 1). Assists -- NP 5 (Mullis 3), TW 13 (Ricks 7). Steals -- NP 5 (Mullis 2, Trent 2), TW 13 (Ricks 3, Moses 3). Total fouls -- NP 17, TW 12. Fouled out -- B. Dahlstrom (NP). Technical fouls -- Moses (TW). Turnovers - NP 23, TW 13.
Next Games -- North Putnam finished the season at 10-10. Tri-West will face South Putnam Friday.