ROACHDALE -- Wednesday was all about survival for North Putnam's boys basketball team.
The Cougars came into their home game against North Vermillion bruised and sick. Senior guard Payne Stewart even missed the game because of an illness.
While it might not have been the prettiest of offensive game for the Cougars, North Putnam made enough baskets to come away with a 61-50 victory over the Falcons. It was the second win in three games for the Cougars, who improved to 3-4, while North Vermillion dropped to 0-7.
"We came into this game banged up and sick, but we survived and were able to get a win," said North Putnam head coach Nathan Martindale. "Now we get a break to get ourselves rested."
Martindale said a four-day break is just what the Cougars need. The basketball players who were members of the Cougar football team that advanced to the Class 2A state championship game had been going hard since July. The regular basketball players had been going hard since September.
Going in the fourth quarter with a 43-40 lead, the Cougars outscored the Falcons 18-10 to get into the holiday break on a happy note.
North Putnam scored eight of the first 10 points of the fourth quarter and after Tim Wiltermood's basket had a 51-42 lead. The Falcons would get no closer than seven points the remainder of the game.
"We have talked to them all season about finishing games in the fourth quarter," Martindale said. "It was nothing that we said, they just took it upon themselves to go out there and finish the job."
Wiltermood scored 10 of his game's 13 points in the fourth quarter. He finished the game 5-for-8 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the foul line while also grabbing six rebounds -- three of those offensive.
"Tim Wiltermood had a great game for us tonight," Martindale said. "We have talked to him about playing with confidence, and he did that tonight."
Wiltermood was one of three Cougars to finish in double figures. James Hedrick and Travis Franklin led the Cougars with 16 points each. North Putnam won despite shooting 25-for-62 from the floor.
"Offensively, we couldn't hit a shot tonight," Martindale said. "Those shots are going to start falling."
North Putnam's defense forced North Vermillion into 23 turnovers.
"We have the defense that can create turnovers, and we take pride in that," Martindale said.
Dalton McCool led North Vermillion with 13 points, while Lane Clark had 12 points and nine rebounds.
North Putnam is off until Dec. 29 when it hosts White River Valley.
At North Putnam
N. Vermillion 15 11 14 10 -- 50
North Putnam 13 14 17 18 -- 61
Everts 1-6 1-4 3, Hedrick 7-20 2-4 16, Lucas 2-6 0-0 4, Franklin 6-9 2-3 16, Porter 4-10 0-0 8, Wiltermood 5-8 2-2 13, Stanley 0-0 0-0 0, Muse 0-3 1-4 1. Team Totals -- 25-62 FG, 8-17 FT, 61 TP.