Boys basketball: Putnam County 41, DePue 27
GRANVILLE — Despite having several players playing both the sophomore and varsity games, the DePue boys basketball team showed no signs of being tired Feb. 5, but in the end, Putnam County ground out a hard-fought 41-27 victory in a Tri-County Conference game.
“You got to give DePue credit,” Putnam County coach Harold Fay said. “We thought if we pushed the tempo, we might be able to tire them a bit with kids playing both games, but they just kept hanging around and hanging around.”
Andres Moreno hit the first shot of the game and gave the Little Giants the early lead.
A couple of possessions later, Luke Pederson hit a 3-pointer before Jacob Williams hit a jumper from the free throw line for a 5-4 Panthers lead.
With the first quarter coming to a close, Williams drained a 3-pointer from the corner to give Putnam County an 8-4 lead.
“I was joking with Jakob Pyszka from Putnam County saying we’re going to stop you tonight,” Little Giants coach Charlie Klinefelter said, laughing.
“He had 20-some points the first time we played them. The problem is the (Jacob) Williams kid killed us instead.”
To start the second quarter, Williams again hit a 3-pointer and pushed the lead to 11-4.
But the Little Giants started picking things up at both ends of the court.
Oscar Ramirez snuck into the lane and grabbed an offensive rebound and got a bucket along with the foul for a three-point play.
Shortly after that, Moreno hit a jumper from 17 feet and followed with a putback that cut the PC lead to 12-11.
“Andres is really playing well,” Klinefelter said. “He had 19 in the sophomore game and then hit some shots in the varsity and had a great night rebounding as well.”
But Putnam County finished the first half on a 6-1 run led by Williams, who hit a short jumper to give the Panthers an 18-12 lead at halftime.
“Jacob did a nice job tonight with 11 points in the first half,” Fay said. “He caught the ball in rhythm and was hitting shots off balance. We needed that because DePue refused to go away and kept fighting.”
The Little Giants started the second half strong with Mario Quintana driving and hitting a pull-up jumper on DePue’s first possession.
Anthony Tyson followed with a tough layup among three defenders that cut the Putnam County lead to 18-17.
Right after that, Putnam County got back-to-back 3-pointers from Williams and Pederson to push the lead to 24-17.
Jorge Escobar converted a fast-break layup for the Little Giants to make it 24-21 Putnam County, but the Panthers once again finished strong with Mathew Liebhart hitting a shot in the paint and Williams hitting a 3-pointer for a 32-23 advantage heading into the final quarter.
Putnam County started to pull away a little bit in the final eight minutes. Jackson McDonald scored off a move in the post and Liebhart made a shot from the free throw line to extend the lead to 36-23.
Moreno hit another pull-up jumper, but McDonald hit another shot in the paint and Stephen Mecagni hit a bunny shot as Putnam County came away with the 41-27 victory.
The Panthers were led by Williams with 15 points, while the Little Giants were led by Moreno with eight points and 11 rebounds.