(Banner Graphic/TRENT SCOTT) [Order this photo]
In a back and forth battle at Turkey Run Friday night, the Cougars held a four point lead in the fourth quarter but could not hold on as they fell to the Warriors 50-47.
Before the game even began, the visitors were assessed a warm-up technical violation, giving Turkey Run a chance to put a point on the board before receiving possession instead of a tipoff.
The incident did not deter the Cougars as Jameson Brewer traded baskets with Turkey Run, scoring all 12 of North Putnam's first quarter points to take a 12-11 lead into the second period.
Brewer knocked down a three-point basket to give the Cougars a four point lead, but a change in Warrior defense soon shut down Brewer while the rest of the North Putnam offense struggled to find any rhythm.
The hosts took advantage by going on a 12-0 run over the next six minutes, harassing Cougar ball handlers with a full-court press and getting easy looks at the rim.
Jordan Nauert finally broke the scoreless streak with a lay-up only for Warrior guard Jeff Woods to hit a three-point shot with seconds left to give the home side a 26-17 halftime lead.
North Putnam started the third quarter by scoring the first seven points, then gave up the next five and fell behind by 10 points midway through the period.
The Cougars then rattled off nine straight points to cut the deficit to one, only to see Woods again knock down a three to extend the lead to 37-33 heading into the final quarter of play.
The visitors opened the fourth period with six straight points to take a 39-37 lead, then saw Austin Jones hit a three to take back the lead for the Warriors at 40-39.
North Putnam retook the lead on the next possession and held a 45-40 lead before Jones knocked down another triple and Turkey Run tied the contest on a Riley Sunderman layup.
Two more Warrior baskets gave the home side a 49-45 lead with 1:17 to play, but a steal and two free throws from Zach Green cut the deficit in half at 49-47.
Brewer missed a chance to tie it after Sunderman failed on the front end of a one-and-one by missing the front end of his own one-and-one.
Woods knocked down one of two free throws after North Putnam fouled the senior, leaving the Cougars with a chance to tie the game.
Brewer, however, missed a three point shot with a second remaining and the Cougars fell short in claiming their first win since the Putnam County Classic.
North Putnam head coach Nathan Martin-dale was not pleased.
"We did not play very well. We struggled on the defensive end. Offensively, aside from Brewer, we were stagnant," Martindale said.
"When Turkey Run adjusted and started double-teaming him, the other four guys did not react quick enough. Other guys have to step up sooner.
"Guys made uncharacteristic plays. We took bad shots. After we took the lead in the fourth quarter, we had some bad turnovers," Martindale added.
"We did not have a very smooth offense and the execution was poor. We cannot expect to win ball games scoring 47 points and giving the ball away 16 times."
Martindale said that after the loss Friday night it was fortunate that the squad would have to forget the game quickly in order to prepare for North Vermillion Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.
"We dug ourselves a hole in the second quarter tonight but we climbed out of it in the third and took the lead in the fourth. We had a chance to win but could not put it away," Martindale said.
"We've got to get back out on the court and the kids are lucky they get to go back out on the court tomorrow. It's a chance to forget this game and focus on another ball game."
At Turkey Run
North Putnam 12 5 16 14 -- 47
Turkey Run 11 15 11 13 -- 50
North Putnam -- Brewer 27, Nauert 12, Haste 6, Green 2
Turkey Run -- Woods 18, Amstutz 11, Jones 9, Sunderman 8, Russell 2