NEW MARKET — Another hot shooting performance from North Putnam put an end to Southmont’s season with an 81-72 Cougars win in the opening round of the IHSAA Class 2A State Tournament at Southmont on Tuesday night.
Led by Mason Brooks, who at times looked unstoppable with his step-back 3-pointers, the Cougars (12-12) connected on 14-of-28 3-point attempts. The junior led all scorers with 25 points, including four triples, while sophomore Aaron Pickel knocked down four more long balls and added 20 points.
“We knew that they were an excellent shooting team,” Southmont coach Jake Turner said, the Cougars defeated the Mounties 66-56 the second game of the year. “I thought our defense on the ball needed to be better, and it wasn’t good enough, and that led to a lot of 3s.”
North Putnam led 48-32 at the half, and maintained a double-digit lead in the third quarter, until Southmont (7-15) made its only second half run in the final two minutes of the stanza.
Logan Oppy scored six straight for the Mounties, including a 3-pointer and a technical free throw after North Putnam coach Vince Brooks was penalized at the 1:51 mark. Oppy’s layup on the next Southmont possession cut the deficit to 57-53, but the Cougars ended the quarter on a 10-3 run and never looked back.
Offensively Southmont had its best night of the season, connecting on 31-of-56 (60%) shots and scored a season-high 72 points, but it wasn’t enough.
“If you would have told me we would score 72 points and be 26-of-31 in the pain I would say sign me up,” Turner said. “But our defense was just not good enough.”
Carson Chadd and Austin Bowman led the Mounties with 19 points apiece, including 13 in the second half from Chadd.
“I was very very proud of how our kids fought,” Turner added. “Because that was an onslaught early, and if we weren’t mentally tough, and we weren’t resilient then it could have been a 30-point game easily, but our guys kept battling. I’m proud of my guys, they (North Putnam) were just the better team tonight.”
Avery Saunders and Oppy each reached double-figures with 13 and 10 points respectively. Zach Huff added 14 for the Cougars.
While North Putnam advances to play 8-14 Cascade, a team they beat 68-38 in the regular season, the Mounties season comes to a close, and Turner is thankful for his three seniors who will depart.
“I’m disappointed for these three seniors,” he said. “Drew Glancy, Conner McVay, and Reese Long. They are the highest character group you could ask for. Just very positive and great role models for the younger guys.”