MARTINSVILLE — For much of the first half, Columbus North had a hard time finding a way to shut down Martinsville junior and Purdue commit Kayana Traylor as she scored 19 points.
The second half was a completely different story.
The Bull Dogs made a great adjustment defensively in the second half, and great scoring runs by the Bull Dogs in the third and fourth quarters help lift North to a 55-50 girls basketball victory.
“We saw what (Traylor) liked to do and we took that away from her,” said North senior Maliah Howard-Bass, who finished with a team high 17 points. “All of us listened to the coaches and we had a really great game plan.”
For most of the minutes freshman Tessa Lomax played, she had the task of guarding Traylor. Lomax was up for the challenge.
“When she was in, her primary assignment was guarding her,” said North coach Pat McKee, whose team improved to 2-0. “That’s a pretty tough guard for just the second game of your career. Yet, as the game wore on, she got better and better at understanding how to play her.”
Traylor only scored six points in the second half to finish with a game high 25 points. Lomax had a fine night offensively, as well, to finish with 11 points.
When the Artesians (1-1) took the 27-26 very early in the third quarter, Howard-Bass took things over. She had a lot of good shots most of the game, but they were just not falling in the basket. It was a different story in the third quarter as she hit a couple of shots, including a 3-pointer, to cap off an 11-0 run to go ahead by double digits 37-27.
“I just had to buckle down and make shots for my team,” Howard-Bass said. “I felt like if we could go on a run and just get a good cushion, I feel like that helped my other teammates have a cushion and just settle down and relax and move the ball around.”
In the fourth quarter, the Bull Dogs put away the game as Imani Guy hit three baskets to give a Bull Dogs a 55-39 lead. The Artesians scored 11 straight points to end the game, but the Bull Dogs built enough of a lead to hold them off.
“During halftime, we talked about rebounding the ball a lot more and look inside more,” said Guy, who finished with 14 points. “We did a good job of what the coaches told us. We started to run a lot more things when they started pressing us and we responded really well to that.”