By MIKE CLODFELTER
For the BannerGraphic
NEW MARKET -- The North Putnam Cougars boys' basketball team traveled to Southmont Wednesday night to open the 2007-2008 season against the Mounties. The Cougars entered the game with many obstacles in their path.
Many of the players had been members of the football team and had only been practicing with the rest of the team for less than two weeks.
Two of the Cougars' returning players were unable to play in the game because of injuries suffered during the football season.
Finally, North Putnam only had three players Tuesday night who had any playing time at the varsity level.
After falling behind Southmont by 12 points early in the game, North Putnam battled back to give the more experienced Mounties a run for their money, but the Cougars would lose the game in overtime, 60-65.
North Putnam struggled in the opening minutes of the game, committing seven turnovers in the first quarter, but 2:51 left in the stanza, Zack Hedrick hit the first points of the game for the Cougars.
Mitch Hadley and Reece Heron hit three-pointers, making the score 16-8, Southmont, at the end of the first quarter.
North Putnam gained confidence and composure in the second and third quarters, outscoring Southmont, 15-12, and 17-11 in those periods, taking their first lead of the game at 40-39, with 0:02.3 left in the third quarter.
The Cougars used balanced scoring by Cory Dean, Kyle Alcorn, Jerrett Ban, Brock Jones, Kyle Adams, and Hedrick, and aggressive rebounding to get back in the game in the second and third periods.
The fourth quarter turned out to be a battle from beginning to end as the lead changed hands four times, and was tied four times, the final time when Southmont hit a three-point shot with 12 seconds left in regulation to send the game in overtime.
The more experienced and practiced Mounties were able to pull away from the Cougars in the overtime period, scoring five more points than North Putnam, ending the visitors' hopes of earning their first win of the season.
"We are as pleased as we can be with our play tonight," commented North Putnam coach Wes Peek after the game.
"We've got lots of things to work on and improve, but we got great contributions from everyone, and Mitch Hadley and Brock Jones coming off of the bench gave us a lift."
"Jerrett Ban and Brock Jones split time tonight guarding Tyler Price and did a great job. Price is a 27, 28 points scorer, and they held him to 15 points tonight."
"For us to come in and play as hard as we did, and as tough as we did down the stretch, we're as pleased as we can be and for us to score 60 points tonight, was a great accomplishment for our team," added Peek.
North Putnam had two players who scored in double figures. Dean led the way with 16, and Hedrick had 14.
Ban and Adams followed with seven each, Reece had six, Hadley added five, Alcorn had three, and Jones closed out the Cougar scoring with two points.
Hedrick had the only double-double of the game by pulling-down 10 rebounds, and Adams grabbed nine.
Hadley and Jones had game-high four assists each, and Jones and Hedrick led the Cougars with two steals each.
In the junior varsity game, North Putnam lost to Southmont, 25-48.
Drew Hutcheson led the scoring with 10, followed by Jake Lasiter and Billy Bonebrake with four each, TJ Wilhite, Mitch Hadley, and James Hedrick with two each, and Wes Bryan closed out the North Putnam scoring with one point.
The Cougars (0-1, 0-0 WCC) play Cloverdale in the second game of the opening round of the Putnam County Classic at Greencastle's McAnally Center next Friday night. The game will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game between Greencastle and South Putnam.
North Putnam 8 15 17 12 8 -- 60
Southmont 16 12 11 13 13 -- 65
North Putnam (0-1, 0-0 WCC)
Hadley 2-3 0-4 5, Alcorn 1-3 0-0 3, Ban 2-10 3-5 7, Dean 5-11 2-2 16, Jones 1-5 0-0 2, Hedrick 4-14 4-6 14, Adams 2-7 3-4 7, Heron 2-5 0-0 6. Totals 19-58 FG, 12-21 FT, 60 TP.
Southmont (1-0, 0-0 SAC)
Buck 3-8 4-12 10, Truncone 4-10 1-2 9, Price 6-18 2-3 15, Paris 1-1 0-0 2, Actis 9-13 1-1 22, Rash 0-1 1-4 1, Nichols 0-1 0-0 0, Burkett 1-1 0-0 2, Jones 2-4 0-2 4. Totals 26-57 FG, 9-24, FT, 65 TP.
Next game -- The Cougars (0-1, 0-0 WCC) play Cloverdale in the second game of the opening round of the Putnam County Classic at Greencastle's McAnally Center next Friday night. The game will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game between Greencastle and South Putnam.