Heartbreaker for North Putnam
ROACHDALE -- The North Putnam Cougars hosted the Covington Trojans on Senior Night Friday and came away with a heart-breaking loss on the special night, 47-46.
"It was one of those games where you do everything right and it just does not go your way," North Putnam head coach Collin McCartt said. "It was a contested shot. He shot it from his waist and just chucked it. Basketball games go that way."
Covington junior point guard Luke Cooper hit a fade-away buzzer-beater to win the game by one point even with a hand in his face.
Despite the loss the Cougars had a good season. They improved by five wins this year and much of the success is due to the four seniors on the team. This year's seniors were Seth Armold, Cameron Boller, Kyler Jeter and Austin Judy.
"You have to have guys like this," McCartt said. "We had four, two did not get to play a lot but they were great with everything that we did. Kyler has been our rock and he kind of took on the leadership role."
North Putnam (8-15) came out of the gates in a press and Covington (12-8) seemed a bit flustered, turning it over five times in the first quarter but the Trojans rebounded in the second quarter to score 24 points in the first half to North Putnam's 34.
Junior guard Preston Porter had a big night, for North, scoring 14 points on four three-pointers, including a buzzer-beater at the half to extend the lead.
"He has really transformed pretty much everything about himself," McCartt said. "He is different in how he practices, how he prepares. Just the way his mindset is and how he carries himself with a lot of confidence. He has given us a lot of fast starts here recently."
North Putnam played good fundamental basketball on the night only turning the ball over 10 times while dishing out nine assists. North Putnam also forced 16 turnovers but allowed Covington to shoot 51 percent from the floor.
"They are the first team we have seen that pretty much at all times had five shooters on the floor," McCartt said. "I thought defensively we were really good. We made them hit some tough shots and took them out of their game a little bit."
The game looked to be out of reach but the Trojans stormed back, holding the Cougars to just three points in the third quarter while scoring 15 of their own to take a two-point lead heading into the final frame.
"We knew they were going to make a run," McCartt said. "They are too good of a team not to make a run. That shot does not take away how well we played."
The Cougars trailed by one point with under 20 seconds left and this is where it started to get interesting. Porter hit a corner three-pointer off the dish by junior Treyton Smith, his fifth assist on the night, to give the Cougars a two-point lead with 12 seconds remaining.
What happened in the next 12 seconds is something only the people in the stands and on the court can describe.
As Covington pushed the ball up the court the ball handler got trapped on the wing and found a cutting Ryan Fletcher for an easy layup to tie the game, but the Covington coach called a timeout a splitsecond before the pass was released so the basket did not count.
Instead Covington inbounded underneath their basket and found Cooper who hit a falling away 26-foot shot as junior Duke Duff was all over him to win the game by one point.
North Putnam now has 10 days off before itsnext potential game. They will find out their opponent in the sectional draw this coming Sunday. McCartt says it will be tricky to keep the team fresh and ready but not get out of basketball shape.
"These guys will have two days off," McCartt said. "We will get some skill work in and you have to be careful at this point in the season. You need to keep them fresh but you do not want to kill their legs. We are going to do a few things off the court as a team and once the coaching staff sees what happens with the draw on Sunday we will map things out a little more."
At North Putnam
Covington 13 11 15 8 - 47
North Putnam 15 19 3 12 - 46
Covington (47): Tanner 5-8 0-1 13, Cooper 4-8 1-2 10, Noble 3-6 0-0 7, Pettit 2-3 2-2 7, Kline 3-6 0-0 6, Cates 1-2 0-0 2, Fletcher 1-2 0-0 2, Spring 0-2 0-0 0.Totals:19-37 (6-15) 3-5, 47.
North Putnam (46): Duff 5-15 2-2 15, Porter 5-10 0-0 14, C. Judy 3-5 2-3 8, Smith 2-7 1-5 5, Jeter 1-3 0-0 2, Bean 1-2 0-0 2, A. Judy 0-2 0-0 0. Total: 17-44 (7-19) 5-10, 46.
Covington (28-5): Fletcher 6-0, Tanner 6-0, Kline 3-2, Cates 2-1, Pettit 2-0, Spring 2-0, Cooper 1-0, Team 6-2.
N. Putnam (21-7): Duff 6-3, C. Judy 6-2, Porter 5-1, Bean 1-0, Team 3-1.
Assists: CHS 8 (Cooper 5), NPHS 7 (Smith 3). Steals: CHS 5 (Tanner 3), NPHS 9 (Jeter 4). Blocks: CHS 3 (Fletcher 2), NPHS 0.
Turnovers: CHS 16, NPHS 10.