Boys Basketball

Cougars roll past Mounties


NEW MARKET ­— North Putnam and Southmont boys basketball finally were able to make up their game on a very rare Monday night at Southmont. The previous two times the games had to be moved due to Southmont’s success in football and then last week mother nature not playing nice. The game got underway with both teams trading threes in the opening quarter and the score being even at 9-9. After that, the visiting Cougars controlled the game on both sides of the ball outscoring Southmont 44-30 the rest of the way and cruising to 53-39 win.

For Southmont there were obvious signs of tired legs as it was their third game in four days. The Cougars however utilized that to their advantage and were quicker and got out and pushed the tempo when they could.

“I felt pretty good about what we were doing in that first quarter even though shots didn’t fall,” North Putnam coach Vince Brooks said. “After that, the shot did start to fall for the most part. Defensively we did a very good job and only had a few let down all game. It was an all-around great job by our guys to come on the road and get this win.”

The win for the Cougars is their fifth straight and since the calendar has flipped to 2024, North Putnam (10-8) is 7-1. Noah Hackleman led all scorers in the game for the Cougars with 18 points and four made threes. Both Brady Barber and Isaac Pickel each had 10. Jaylen Windmiller added seven, Kaden Helderman five and Nolan Augusta chipped in three. For the game the Cougars shot 22-49 (45%) from the field and 6-23 (26%) from three while going 3-5 (60%) from the foul line. They also grabbed 34 rebounds and turned the ball over 11 times.

“The first part of the season we were still working out some things and identifying what our strengths and weaknesses were going to be,” Brooks said. “Every year is different and it took a little longer for us to go through that feeling out process, but now we’re to the point where we’re feeling pretty good about everything and the results are starting to show that.”
Southmont (6-7) was led in scoring by Aaron McMasters and his 12 points. Vince Reimondo, Kyler McCandless, and Lucas Oppy all had six. Hayden Hess had four, Dawson Mason three, and Evan Watson two. For the game the Mounties shot 13-48 (27%) and 5-23 (22%) from three while going 8-12 (66.7) from the free-throw line. The Mounties grabbed 28 rebounds and turned it over nine times.

“Playing three games in four days is obviously not ideal,” Southmont coach Michael Byrum said. “But at the very end of the day there’s nothing we can do about that. We still have to go out and perform to the best of our abilities and try and get this right. It’s no secret we’re facing some adversity and we aren’t doing a very good job of handling it. It’s something we’re going to have figure out and analyze why we aren’t handling it the way we should be. It comes down to us watching film and learning from our mistakes. We also have to take care of our bodies because we have tired guys right now. I’d rather face this adversity now when we’re 31 days from the tournament and get it corrected.”

The Cougars will be off until Saturday when they’re back home to take on Covenant Christian. Southmont’s grueling stretch continues with s Sagamore Conference battle Thursday at Tri-West before taking another tough team in the Parke Heritage Wolves on the road Saturday.