North’s defense toughens down stretch

Even when it’s not producing points, defense can indeed be the best offense.

The Columbus North boys basketball team rode their defense on Tuesday evening, holding Seymour without a point for nearly eight minutes during an extended closing run that powered the Bull Dogs to a 48-37 senior night triumph.

“It wasn’t one of our best nights offensively,” North coach Paull Ferguson said. “We won the game by really clamping down defensively in the second half.”

Facing a 29-24 deficit late in the third period, North (8-13) tied the score on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Mitchell Kelley, then added seven unanswered points over the first 4 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter to grab a 36-29 advantage.

By the time Alan Perry broke the Seymour drought on a steal and layup with 3:18 to go, it had been held scoreless for 7 minutes and 27 seconds. The Owls shot just 29.5 percent (13 of 44) from the field on the evening and missed 14 of 17 3-point tries.

It wasn’t all bad for Seymour, particularly in the opening minutes. The Owls jumped out to an early 13-6 edge behind a three-point play by Tiller Cummings and a pair of 3-pointers from Tyler Bloom.

Columbus North, however, responded. The Bull Dogs took their first lead on a Jaylen Flemmons three-point play with 4:03 to go in the half, part of an extended 14-2 run that put Seymour in a 20-15 hole.

Down by two at the half, Seymour (6-15) reclaimed the upper hand in the third quarter, using an 8-0 run to build a 29-24 cushion by the 2:45 mark of the period. Perry’s drought-snapping layup was the Owls’ lone field goal the rest of the way.

Alex King paced the Bull Dogs with 13 points and nine rebounds. Ethan Mitchell helped fuel North’s defensive effort with seven boards and four blocked shots.

Cummings and Bloom finished with 12 points apiece to lead Seymour. Owls guard Toriek Miller was hounded into a 1-for-12 shooting night by the Bull Dogs’ Trey Vincent.

The three North seniors — Alex Algee, Drew Schoeberl and Kelley — started and accounted for the Bull Dogs’ first nine points.

Columbus North wraps up its regular season with a Thursday home game against Center Grove before facing off against Columbus East next Tuesday in the opening round of the East Central Sectional.

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Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at roleary@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.