BOONE -- After a cancellation of Friday night's contest with North Montgomery, North Putnam traveled to Western Boone on Saturday night to close out the 2012 portion of the boys' basketball season.
After a close three quarters, an early fourth quarter scoring spree by the Stars sent the Cougars into the Christmas break with a 69-54 loss.
North Putnam head coach Nathan Martindale said afterward that while the two squads were both aggressive, the inability to make easy baskets was the difference, as his coaching staff counted eight times the team missed a layup that led to two points the other way.
"Looking at the final score, that pretty much says it all. We've got to do a better job of finishing down low and making easy shots," Martindale said. "We needed to make them pay for giving us those looks and we didn't do a very good job of that. We missed too many easy shots and that hurt us in transition."
Both teams got plenty of open looks in the first period but where the hosts converted their shots, the Cougars did not.
The misses led to a 12-2 opening for the Stars and a 15-9 first-quarter lead.
With both starting bigs, seniors Jameson Brewer and Jake Haste, in foul trouble early, North Putnam gave up 12 more second-chance points than the Cougars scored themselves.
"When we get into foul trouble like that, we have to start doing some things other than what we want to do," Martindale said. "We survived until halftime down 10. We thought if we got off to a good start and got a couple of quick buckets, we could get back into the game."
Trailing 34-24 at the break, the Cougars began the second half hot by quickly cutting the deficit.
NPHS briefly got as close as four points with possession.
"Our energy level was great. I thought our activity on both ends of the floor was great," Martindale said. "We just couldn't finish plays."
A missed three-point shot and a fourth foul on Brewer chasing down the rebound stifled the momentum and Western Boone maintained an eight-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
It was there that the Stars made their move, scoring the frame's opening 10 points, and 16 of the first 21, to grab a 19-point lead.
The outburst sealed the game for the hosts and sent the Cougars into the break having won only once in the first half of the season.
The loss of Brewer and Haste to early foul trouble made the first half that much more difficult, but Martindale said the squad coped well without their interior players.
"It's tough because we're not deep, especially in the front court," Martindale said. "There were a couple of bang-bang calls that could have gone either way and they didn't go our way,"
North Putnam will not see action again until 2013 with a road trip to Turkey Run on Jan. 4.
Martindale said that by then the squad will hopefully be healthy and ready to get back into action.
"We've got to break these kids down to get some things fixed but we need the rest too," Martindale said. "We've got a long stretch of games coming up, especially with the two postponements. We need to make sure our guys are healthy. We are the walking wounded right now.
"As long as the guys keeping buying in to being aggressive on both ends of the floor, things will start turning around and we'll start winning some games."
At Western Boone
North Putnam 9 15 12 18 -- 54
Western Boone 15 19 10 25 -- 69
North Putnam: Nauert 15; Brewer 15; Green 10; Hazelgrove 10; Beaman 4; Team: 20-54 FG, 5-17 3-FG, 9-13 FT.
Western Boone: Baxter 17; Burtner 17; McMann 13; Bowden 12; Whitaker 6; Porter 3; Martain 1; Team: 27-51 FG, 6-16 FG, 9-13 FT.
North Putnam 32 (15 offense); Western Boone 33 (11 offense)
North Putnam 5; Western Boone 15
North Putnam 19; Western Boone 16
North Putnam 1; Western Boone 0
North Putnam 8; Western Boone 6
North Putnam 19; Western Boone 14