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The Wildcats respond to their first NWOC loss in six years by hammering Putnam.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Wilsonville junior Maxim Wu hangs in the air for a jumpshot during his team's 61-29 win over Putnam at Wilsonville High School on Friday, Jan. 21.Wrong place, wrong time.

That's exactly where the Putnam boys basketball team found itself on Friday, Jan. 21 — at Wilsonville High School one game after the top-ranked Wildcats suffered their first Northwest Oregon Conference loss since 2016.

Wilsonville, which saw its 77-game conference winning streak snapped in a 53-51 loss at La Salle three days earlier, showed that it was back in charge on Friday, blowing past Putnam 61-29 at WHS.

"It's not fun to lose a game like that against a very good team from La Salle," said Wilsonville sophomore wing/guard Kallan Gutridge, who finished with 15 points (on 6 of 12 shooting from the field, including one 3-pointer, and a 2 of 3 day at the foul line), along with five steals, three rebounds and one assist. "Hopefully, the outcome will be better the next time we play them, but we're just focusing on one game at a time right now."

"It was definitely about taking care of business tonight," said senior post Logan Thebiay, who added 10 points (on 5 of 5 shooting from the field), along with seven rebounds, one block, one steal and one assist. "We put La Salle behind us and just focused on (this) game."

With the victory, the Wildcats — now No. 2 in the OSAA rankings and No. 1 in the latest Class 5A coaches poll — won for the fifth time in six games and improved to 2-1 in NWOC play and 12-2 overall. Putnam, meanwhile, lost for the second straight time and the third time in four games, falling to 1-2 in NWOC play and 2-5 overall.

The Kingsmen knew that Friday's challenge was a big one and vowed to learn from it.

"We just tried to have the mindset to go into the game and not fear anything," said Putnam sophomore guard/wing Chase McDonald, who finished with three points (on 1 of 6 shooting from the field, including one 3-pointer), along with two rebounds and two steals. "We were just trying to do our stuff and play good defense. We know eventually (good things) will come if we get our good defense in."

"Basically, we know (that Wilsonville is) the bar for league and we've got to come out tomorrow and play hard to get ready for (our next game)," added sophomore guard/wing Lennon Greenleaf, who finished with a team-high eight points (on 3 of 11 shooting from the field, including one 3-pointer, and a 1 of 1 day at the foul line), along with two assists. "I just feel like no matter what, if we go out and get our shots, something will come out of it."

While Friday's first quarter was sloppy on both ends of the court — the two teams combined for 14 first-quarter turnovers — the Wildcats took over right from the get-go. While the Kingsmen went just 1 of 7 from the field in the opening period — a "three" by sophomore Tyler Adams — Wilsonville got baskets from five different players, with junior post Tristan Davis leading the way with a three-point play to help his team grab an 11-3 lead.

Wilsonville kept the heat on in the second quarter, too, limiting Putnam to just two points — a pull-up in the key from Greenleaf with 33 seconds left before the half — and extending its lead to a commanding 24-5 margin at the half.

The Wildcats again got points from five players in the period, with sophomore Nick Counts hitting twice for four points and junior Maxim Wu adding three foul shots.

Wilsonville, already in total control, essentially ended the contest by pouring in 26 points in the third quarter to push ahead 50-15, with Gutridge and Thebiay scoring eight points each in the frame. Gutridge hit 3 of 5 shots from the field (including one 3-pointer) and 1 of 2 free throws, along with one steal in the period, while Thebiay knocked down four straight shots — including a lob dunk assisted by senior Enzo Chimienti and a steal and breakaway dunk — along with five rebounds, one block, one steal and one assist.

"We're just looking at one game at a time. We were just looking to give a great effort," Gutridge said. "Right now, we're just working on giving a great effort (in) the next game we have. We're not too focused on what's down the road."

To their great credit, however, the Kingsmen continued to play hard in the fourth quarter, with junior wing Braeden Latta scoring five points (including a "three"), getting another 3-pointer by McDonald and a three-point play from freshman point guard Jaxson Spafford down the stretch.

"We've just got to keep our heads high and go on to the next game and not fear anything and play our game, play how we know how to play," McDonald added.

Chimienti added 10 points (on 4 of 9 shooting from the field and a 2 of 2 day at the foul line), along with three assists, one rebound and one steal.

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