Columbus North seniors Ashlyn Huffman, Imani Guy and Maliah Howard-Bass played in their last regular-season home game against Whiteland and ended their home regular-season careers on a positive note.
Howard-Bass started the game sixth on the Bull Dogs’ All-time scoring list, and her 22 points in Tuesday night’s game bumped her to fourth with 1,285. Guy’s 250 career blocks is believed to be a North school record.
Huffman, who had been struggling scoring as of late, scored 12 of her 14 points in the first quarter and the Bull Dogs went on to defeat Whiteland 66-56.
“I’ve been struggling the last couple of games, and I just tried not to think about it,” Huffman said. “I ended up not thinking about it and just going out and playing. So it was really nice to just kind of get over that hump.”
Story continues below gallery
North (16-6) had a 25-point first quarter and began the second with an 11 point lead. They pulled away even further after holding Whiteland (10-12) to just nine second quarter points, and Howard-Bass’s five 3-pointers in the first half helped create the 43-25 halftime lead.
The Warriors did not go away quietly, however. They opened the second half with a 5-0 run and Mackenzie Blazek did all she could to give Whiteland a chance near the end.
Blazek ended the game with 23 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks, and her 16 points in the second half helped bring the Warriors within six points early in the forth quarter. Whiteland ended the third quarter on a 9-2 run and continued to fight the rest of the game.
The Warriors were down 61-54 with 2:25 remaining when the Bull Dogs decided to play keepaway. North killed more than a minute off the clock before Whiteland decided to foul.
After Howard-Bass knocked down two free throws, Whiteland was down by nine points with just over a minute remaining and did not have enough time to come back.
“Getting the win was huge,” Huffman said. “I can’t imagine ending my career here with a loss, and I think all of us agreed with that and we were like, ‘We’re just not going to let this team come back on us, and we held our composure.’
The Bull Dogs have one game left before heading into the postseason, and Howard-Bass said the key to having success in the tournament will be to build off of one another like they have been. All three seniors are playing in their last high school games, but will continue their careers in college.
College is in the near future for these seniors but for now, they are focused on finished the season with a bang. Huffman said she feels that something special is getting ready to happen in the tournament.
“We still have sectional, and we still need to push forward, Howard-Bass said. “We will come out next week and keep pushing to get better and better.”