Ali Patberg, Debie Gedeon, Sheyanne Street, Hannah Poindexter and Sydney Patberg were all given standing ovations from the fans as each one of them left the court one at a time in the closing minutes of Columbus North’s 71-34 Conference Indiana girls basketball victory against Southport on senior day.
Those five Bull Dogs seniors were honored with a ceremony before the game. It was especially emotional for Ali Patberg, who was named a McDonald’s All-American on Wednesday, from holding back the tears in realizing that her high school career is almost coming to an end.
“It’s been rough thinking about it,” she said after leading North with 23 points. “I grew in this place and remember making my very first basket here. This whole community here has been great to me.
“I tried to contain my emotions as much as possible,” said North assistant coach Ron Patberg, who is Ali’s father. “She’s grown up in the gym her whole life. A lot of her success has to do with the people she surrounded herself with and has worked real hard to get where she is today.”
Story continues below gallery
Ali Patberg also said she appreciates her family and teammates for being there and making her the person she is.
“I think I have had the biggest support group anybody can ask for,” she said. “My family, friends and teammates have always had my back. That is why this moment is so hard for me because everyone here is like family to me.”
It was also bittersweet for Gedeon, who has been friends with Ali Patberg since they were 9 years old.
“There are a lot of memories that we have together from playing alongside each other for so long,” Gedeon said. “We are pretty much like sisters. We argue together like we’re sisters, but we also laugh together as well. We are realizing that we are coming to the end of the road playing together. It’s kind of rough, but in a way, it’s nice to remember everything that we have done together,” she said. “We both are competitive with each other and push each other to do better. She holds people to such high esteem and she really wants the best for everyone.”
“We all have been real close over the years and we have accomplished so much together,” Poindexter said. “It’s sad to see everyone go their separate ways after this year, but I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with another class rather than them. It’s been a great opportunity and a privilege to play with them.”
“It’s sad but I think the moment will really hit me tomorrow,” Street said. “We accomplished a lot over the years and we’re the last class on the team that went to state (in 2012).”
As for the game, the Cardinals (7-13, 2-5) did everything they could to contain Ali Patberg, but she easily broke through the defense and put up eight quick points for the Bull Dogs (21-1, 7-0).
Whenever Ali Patberg was double-teamed, other teammates were open for easy layins. Elle Williams was one Bull Dog that was very effective in the paint with Ali Patberg and Paige Littrell feeding her the ball inside. Williams finished with 19 points.
“Paige and I have been stepping up for the team recently,” Williams said. “I’ve gotten more confident throughout this season, and our chemistry together is only getting better with each game.”
North put away the game for good in the third quarter by outscoring Southport 24-3 to make it 64-19. Ali Patberg added another basket to start the fourth quarter before being taken out of the game.
“The accomplishments we had go to not only to the seniors, but to the entire team,” North coach Pat McKee said. “The last five years here, we had a remarkable group of players, and all the credit goes to them.”