By MIKE CLODFELTER
For the BannerGraphic
CRAWFORDSVILLE -- The North Putnam Cougars boys' basketball team traveled to Crawfordsville Saturday night to play the Athenians in what would turn out to be a very emotional game for the Cougars.
One week earlier, the Cougars' two leading scorers, Zach Hedrick and Cory Dean, were injured in an automobile accident on icy roads while traveling to North Putnam High School to catch the team bus for the Putnam County Classic finals.
Hedrick's injuries in the accident kept him out of team practice until Friday, and he was able to play in the game Saturday night.
However, Dean's injuries in the accident were extremely serious and he is still listed in critical condition at Methodist hospital.
North Putnam and Crawfordsville opened the game by honoring Dean, his family, and the North Putnam community, halting the game after 10 seconds had elapsed from the clock, in recognition of Dean's Cougar jersey number.
Both teams then lined up, as they do after games are completed, to exchange handshakes and convey their thoughts and hopes for Dean's recovery.
After the game resumed, Crawfordsville raced out to an early lead, scoring five unanswered points before Jerrett Ban got the Cougars on the scoreboard, hitting a free throw at the 5:22 mark in the first quarter.
Hedrick and Reece Heron both scored for North Putnam during the rest of the period, but Crawfordsville led at the first break, 20-7.
Hedrick, Mitch Hadley, Brock Jones, Kyle Alcorn, and Jake Lasiter scored for North Putnam in the second quarter, but the Athenians continued to stretch their lead in the stanza, taking a 45-17 lead into the locker room at halftime.
JT Francies, Hedrick, Alcorn, and Drew Hutcheson scored for the Cougars in the second half, but Crawfordsville shot the lights out of the gym, hitting 58 percent of their 2-point shots, and 87 percent of their free throws, handing North Putnam its third loss of the season, 82-25.
The emotions of the past week affected North Putnam throughout the game. The Cougars played with great effort and positive attitudes, but they committed 26 turnovers and were only able to hit 22 percent of their shots from the field.
"We've got all of the excuses in the world that we could use, but the bottom line is we didn't execute very well tonight and we didn't hit our shots," commented North Putnam coach Wes Peek after the game.
"We did play hard and that's what we need to do to get better with a young team. We are going to do a lot of shooting this week and work on our execution."
"We found out this week that there are a lot of things much more important in life than the game of basketball, so tonight wasn't about winning or losing, it was about paying tribute to a teammate. We'll go back to work on those other things," added Peek.
North Putnam had one player scoring double figures, Hedrick with 11.
Alcorn followed with three, Heron, Jones, Lasiter, and Francies had two each, and Hadley, Ban, and Hutcheson closed out the Cougar scoring with one point each.
Hedrick led the Cougars in rebounds with seven boards.
Heron had a game-high two blocked shots, with Jones and Kyle Adams each blocked one shot.
Alcorn had two assists, and Jones and Heron led the Cougars with two steals each.
In the junior varsity game, North Putnam lost to Crawfordsville, 33-64.
Wes Bryan led the scoring with 11, followed by James Hedrick with seven, Drew Hutcheson had five, and Jake Lasiter, Travis Franklin, Nathan Jones, and Kenny Benge closed out the North Putnam scoring with two points each.
The Cougars (0-3, 0-0 WCC) travel to Cascade Friday night to play the Cadets in the second game of a West Central Conference girls'-boys' double header. The girls' game starts at 6:00.
North Putnam 7 10 4 4 -- 25
Crawfordsville 20 25 26 11-- 82
North Putnam (0-3, 0-0 WCC)
Hadley 0-4 1-2 1, Alcorn 0-4 3-8 3, Ban 0-3 1-2 1, Z Hedrick 4-10 2-2 11, Heron 1-3 0-2 2, Jones 1-4 0-1 2, Adams 0-1 0-0 0, J Hedrick 0-1 0-0 0, Lasiter 1-1 0-0 2, Hutcheson 0-0 1-2 1, Francies 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 7-32 FG, 10-21 FT, 25 TP.
Crawfordsville (2-2, 1-0 SAC)
B Harris 3-5 7-7 13, Ward 1-5 0-0 2, Swart 3-7 0-0 6, Wright 2-4 3-3 7, Wordenbrock 4-9 5-6 13, Anderson 0-1 2-2 2, Boykin 9-12 6-7 24, McKinney 1-3 0-0 2, Whittington 1-3 2-2 5, Osmani 1-3 1-1 3, N Harris 0-0 1-3 1, Wethington 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 27-54 FG, 17-31, FT, 65 TP.
3-pt. FG -- NP 1-9 (Alcorn 0-1, Ban 0-1, Z Hedrick 1-4, Jones 0-2, J Hedrick 0-1), C 1-9 (Ward 0-3, Swart 0-1, Anderson 0-1, Whittington 1-2, Osmani 0-2).
Rebounds -- NP 18 (Hadley 1, Alcorn 1, Ban 1, Z Hedrick 7, Heron 1, Jones 2, Adams 1, J Hedrick 1, Lasiter 1, Hutcheson 1, Francies 2), C 38 (B Harris 3, Ward 2, Swart 4, Wright 3, Wordenbrock 8, Anderson 1, Boykin 5, Whittington 5, Osmani 4, N Harris 1, Wethington 2).
Blocks -- NP 4 (Heron 2, Jones 1, Adams 1), C 0. Assists -- NP 4 (Hadley 1, Alcorn 2, Francies 1), C 15 (Ward 2, Wright 2, Wordenbrock 2, Anderson 4, Boykin 2, Whittington 1, Osmani 2). Steals -- NP 6 (Alcorn 1, Heron 2, Jones 2, Adams 1), C 11 (B Harris 1, Ward 1, Wright 3, Boykin 3, McKinney 1, Whittington 1, Osmani 1).
Total fouls -- NP 22, C 20. Fouled out -- none. Turnovers - NP 26, C 15.
Next game -- The Cougars (0-3, 0-0 WCC) travel to Cascade Friday night to play the Cadets in the second game of a West Central Conference girls'-boys' double header. The girls' game starts at 6:00.