ROACHDALE -- North Putnam's boys' basketball squad battled Monrovia Friday night in a game that could have given the home side a chance at a three-game winning streak.
Instead, the Bulldogs picked off their third WCC opponent of the year, holding off the Cougars 61-56.
The hosts took a 13-7 lead into the second quarter with a balanced approach, moving the ball inside and outside while also knocking down four of five free throws.
As has been the case in many Cougar games, however, a lull developed in the second quarter that allowed the Bulldogs to take the lead after scoring the opening eight points of the quarter.
The game would stay tight as the lead changed seven times in the second quarter before Monrovia went into halftime with a 28-24 advantage.
North Putnam tied the game within the opening minute of the third period but never held the lead in the second half as the Bulldogs stretched the lead out to as far as seven points in the third period.
The Cougars rallied again late in the third and early in the fourth periods, cutting the lead to as close as a single point at 50-49 but couldn't ever retake the lead.
Part of the problem came from the free-throw line. The Cougars missed six of their eight fouls shots in the fourth period while the Bulldogs five of eight in the same time span and went 17-for-22 in the contest.
The fire show from the Cougars encouraged head coach Nate Martindale, who said that the missed opportunities cost his squad in the end.
"I thought there were stretches on both the offensive and defensive ends that were good and we had more of them in this game than we've had in any other game this season," Martindale said.
"But, against a team with the experience of going 6-0 in the WCC last season, we have to sustain those stretches longer. We had mental lapse at the start of the fourth quarter on both ends.
"We missed free throws late in the game. If we had hit a couple of them, maybe we give ourselves a chance to win in the last seconds. Instead, we missed and hurt ourselves in the end," Martindale added.
North Putnam has a quick turnaround before hosting Fountain Central. Martindale said the squad needed to be ready to play the same way Saturday as they did Friday.
"Mentally, it's tough coming in on back to back nights and be focused. We need to bring the energy we had here tonight to tomorrow," Martindale said.
"We need to suck it up a little bit and bring that intensity we had tonight into tomorrow's game with Fountain Central."
"If we can do that, we'll let things happen tomorrow as they may."
At North Putnam
Monrovia 7 21 13 20 -- 61
North Putnam 13 11 15 17 -- 56
Monrovia -- 21-52 FG, 2-15 3-FG, 17-22 FT
Benefiel 17, Fite 16, Sowers 14, Sichting 6, Casteel 4, Bolton 2, Gray 2
North Putnam -- 21-57 FG, 5-18, 9-17 FT
Wiltermood 17, Porter 13, Everts 9, Brewer 8, Bryan 7, Stanley 2