Littrell earns honor
It wasn’t the trophy Columbus North senior guard Paige Littrell wanted to leave with on Saturday night, but it was still a pretty big deal.
Following the conclusion of the Class 4A girls basketball championship, Littrell was presented with the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award.
The honor is bestowed each year to a senior in each class who has been nominated by her coach and principal and has demonstrated excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability.
Paige, who boasts a 4.12 grade-point average, is the daughter of Jody and Kim Littrell.
“I’m so proud of my teammates and my coaches,” Littrell said. “I wouldn’t have been here without them.”
Though North suffered through a rough shooting night Saturday, the Bull Dogs finished the season with some impressive numbers overall.
When Littrell hit a 3-pointer with 4:25 left in the first quarter, it was the Bull Dogs’ 144th of the season, matching last year’s team for the second-best total in school history. Maliah Howard-Bass gave the current Bull Dogs second place to themselves, hitting No. 145 with 7:11 remaining in the third quarter.
Penn, meanwhile, sank four 3-points in the first quarter alone, putting the Kingsmen halfway to the 4A state finals record of eight set by South Bend Washington in 2006.
The Bull Dogs found themselves down 20-9 after the first quarter. They stormed back, going on a 16-4 second-quarter run to help cut the deficit to 30-28 going into halftime.
Second effort, part 2
The Bull Dogs came back in the second quarter with several second-chance opportunities. They outrebounded the Kingsmen in the first half, 25-11, with 15 of those coming off the offensive glass.
Imani Guy secured herself a double-double in the first half with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Elle Williams added eight rebounds.
Former North basketball star and McDonald’s All-American Ali Patberg was in attendance to watch her sister, Kenzie Patberg, and the rest of her former teammates go for back-to-back state championships. Patberg made the three-hour journey from the University of Notre Dame to Indianapolis following her team’s afternoon win over Boston College to show her support.
A lot was going through her mind on her journey south.
“It was the last time I played a (high school) game here,” Ali Patberg said. “It was hard, but I was glad they got back here, and that’s all that matters.”
On the undercard
The North-Penn showdown was the last of four state title games being played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday.
Jac-Cen-Del started the day with a 57-39 victory over Argos in the Class A championship. Lilly Simon paced a balanced Eagles attack with 16 points. Jac-Cen-Del began its postseason run with a sectional win over Hauser.
In the Class 2A game, Villanova-bound Cameron Onken scored 21 points as Lafayette Central Catholic defeated Covenant Christian by a 56-43 score. The Knights were the Class A champions a year ago.
Heritage Christian, which moved up to Class 3A after winning consecutive 2A titles, made it three in a row by edging North Harrison, 51-45, behind 27 points from Tyasha Harris.
The Eagles (26-4) were the lone team to defeat Columbus North in the regular season, topping the Bull Dogs 61-57 on Jan. 19.
Columbus East played against both Class 3A finalists this season. The Olympians lost to Heritage Christian but handed North Harrison its first defeat, 62-59, back on Dec. 5.