North girls fall for second straight time

WEST CHESTER, Ohio — Maliah Howard-Bass reached a milestone Saturday night, but Columbus North lost its second consecutive game.

Howard-Bass became the 10th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. The senior scored 29 in the Bull Dogs’ 58-43 loss at Lakota West (Ohio) in the showcase game of the Queen City Classic.

The back-to-back losses to Lawrence North and Lakota West are the Columbus North’s first consecutive defeats since losing three in a row in December 2011. The Bull Dogs bounced back to reach the Class 4A state finals that year.

“Right now, we’re not playing very well,” North coach Pat McKee said. “How can you win with 26 turnovers? We’re not getting kids to compete at a level necessary to play with good people.”

In addition to the turnovers, the Bull Dogs (3-2) shot just 13 of 32 from the field and 11 of 23 from the free-throw line.

The Firebirds (1-0) also outrebounded North 34-25. Half of Lakota West’s rebounds came on the offensive glass.

“It’s like they got the Penn video from last year’s state finals,” McKee said. “They were ultra-physical. They were more physical than Lawrence North.”

Still, the Bull Dogs were in a 20-20 tie at halftime. Similar to the Lawrence North game, they fell behind early in the third quarter, with the Firebirds building a 12-point lead.

North cut to five late in the third quarter and twice early in fourth period, but couldn’t come any closer.

“Turnovers in the 20s doesn’t cut it, giving up 17 offensive rebounds doesn’t cut it and shooting 11 for 23 from the free-throw line doesn’t cut it,” McKee said. “We’re not going to beat any good teams doing those things. But all three of those things are fixable.”

Kenzie Patberg added eight points for the Bull Dogs. Imani Guy, North’s 6-foot-4 center, was in foul trouble and had to sit out most of the second and third quarters.

Howard-Bass came into the game with 995 career points and reached the 1,000 mark on a long 3-pointer in the second quarter. The Ball State recruit now ranks ninth on the all-time list with 1,024 points.

“I didn’t really think about it during the game,” Howard-Bass said. “I just let the game come to me. But I’m thankful I’m able to be a part of the 1,000-point club.”