LINDEN — It was a game with two teams headed in opposition directions but that all changed after North Putnam’s 48-47 come-from-behind win over North Montgomery on the Chargers home floor Tuesday night.
The Cougars (6-15) entered the game having lost 10 of its last 11 games and were desperately looking for a win and got it.
“This was a huge win for us,” Cougars’ head coach Collin McCartt said. “In this stretch of games we have lost we had played well defensively to win eight or nine of them but couldn’t get the offense we needed. We did a better job on finding some scoring tonight and we got the win.”
For the Chargers (5-15) the loss snapped a stretch where the team had won three of its last four games.
“In the past few games we had made some plays down the stretch and tonight our choices just weren’t the best,” Chargers’ coach Andrew Evertts said. “That’s a little disappointing.”
The game was one where neither team could pull away from the other as the Chargers had the biggest lead of the game at halftime when they led 26-19. The Cougars stayed close and eventually overtook the Chargers with just 1:41 to play when Aaron Pickel hit a pair of free throws. Chris Murray added what turned out to be the winning point on a free throw with 19.5 seconds to play, but the Chargers weren’t ready to die.
After Preston Shaw hit a shot to cut the lead to 48-47 with 14.0 seconds to play, the Chargers fouled Murray again, this time with 5.4 seconds. Murray was unable to convert on either of his free throws and the Chargers called a timeout to set up its final play, needing to go the length of the floor.
The Chargers got the ball inbounds but didn’t really get a good look and Jaron Bradford’s long shot was well short and the Cougars celebrated.
“We hung in there and found a way to win,” McCartt said. “That’s big coming off our county tournament and in the middle of the week.”
The Cougars were led in scoring by Andrew Pickel who just missed a double-double by one rebound as he had a game-high 24 points and nine rebounds. Murray joined him in double figures with 12.
North Montgomery was led by Shaw who had 15 points, including 12 in the second half. Jack Thompson added nine points, all in the first half.
“It came down to those hustle plays,” Evertts said. “We track what we call toughness plays like diving out of bounds and things. In the first half we led them 5-0 on toughness plays and in the second half they beat us 7-4. We just needed one more stop and we just couldn’t get it tonight.”
The win was just the fifth time in 21 meetings at North Montgomery that the Cougars have been able to come away with a win
Both teams have tough match-ups on Friday. North Montgomery will entertain Tri-West and North Putnam will battle Covington.