ROACHDALE -- Senior Night at North Putnam High School proved to be a moment to savor for several sports, including the boys' swim squad, coming off their first county title in school history.
The game that followed, however, was not as sweet, as the boys' basketball squad was knocked off by Tri-West 74-53.
The Cougars held a brief lead in the contest midway through the first period at 10-6 but would not score again as the Bruins scored the last 11 points of the period for a 17-10 lead going into the second quarter.
Tri-West ratcheted up the pressure in the second quarter, forcing turnovers and getting several easy baskets to open up as large as a 17-point lead.
A late four point play from Tim Wiltermood brought the lead down to 13 at 35-12 and gave the Cougars some momentum heading into the break.
The momentum was soon lost when the Cougars could only muster six points in the third quarter.
With nothing seemingly wanting to the fall, the Bruins ballooned their lead to as high as 31 and closed the quarter up 29, effectively sealing off the game for the Cougars.
North Putnam's dormant offense finally kicked into gear in the fourth quarter, outscoring Tri-West 25-17, but with the gap as large as it was, the score remained lopsided in the Bruins' favor.
After the contest, North Putnam head coach Nathan Martindale said that Tri-West's style wore the squad down.
"I think their pressure got us out of rhythm a little bit on the offensive end. Guys started doing too much 1-on-1 instead of letting the offense make the motion for us," Martindale said.
"That's something we had gotten away from until tonight, when it reared its ugly head again. With the depth of this team, everybody has to show up and play and play well."
"I don't think we had everybody dialed in tonight and focused on the task. We've got some depth issues. It's not a positive but the quality of that depth, when we're playing well, is a positive," Martindale added.
"They just wore us down. When they can shift a different guy on Tim every possession and he's playing baseline to baseline, we have to relive some pressure for him," Martindale said.
"They wore us down physically and mentally and when the shots weren't falling, guys got a little frustrated. You could see it snowball from there."
Martindale then took a moment to talk about his four senior members of the squad.
"Kolten (Everts) and Tim have been with me here since day one. Those kids have always provided me with great effort throughout their time here. They've done a great job of leading this team," Martindale said.
"Braydon (Porter) was a kid who came back this year and has done a tremendous job of getting everything in order. I couldn't be more proud of how he's turned himself around and become a great person.
"I thought we would have Nate (Bryan) last year until he was injured before the season started. He's played this year and provided us with not only the physical game but with leadership as well," Martindale added.
"These guys are model kids for what you want your other kids, from the juniors down even to the middle school level, to imitate and emulate.
"Those are good kids who do things the right way and they work hard every day. I hope these younger kids can take something from that."
The Cougars will not be in action again until next Friday in the Frankfort sectional against either the host Hot Dogs or Crawfordsville.
Martindale said the squad will have some time to get healthy but also stay true to their rhythm this season.
"We have to figure out the balance between staying sharp and staying healthy. We've got to find that balance," Martindale said.
"We'll do some things tomorrow and then give them a couple days off before practicing at Frankfort. We'll then play it and prepare it like any other Friday and Saturday set of games starting on Monday.
"We'll be looking at making ourselves better and then once we find out who we play, we'll get locked into how we're going to defend that team. "
At North Putnam
Tri-West 17 18 22 17 -- 74
North Putnam 10 12 6 25 -- 53
Tri-West -- Koelling 15, Alexander 13, Tucker 10, Hendershot 8, Phelps 7, Mankin 6, Waite 6, Gadberry 3, Lynn 2, Wolfe 2, Frecker 2
North Putnam -- Wiltermood 19, Bryan 13, Everts 6, Brewer 6, Porter 5, Nauert 4