Bull Dogs close regular season with loss

INDIANAPOLIS — The Columbus North girls basketball team cracked the program’s record book Thursday night in a way that Pat McKee is eager to forget.

The Bull Dogs managed just 29 points, the lowest in McKee’s seven years as coach and the 10th lowest in the program history, in a 45-29 loss at Roncalli to close the regular season.

“Where’s our energy? We scored seven points with the regulars in; the subs got two,” McKee said. “Seven points in 13-plus minutes — that’s not going to win many games anywhere. It guess it’s my fault. I needed to push them harder all season long so we could be fresher at the end of the game. It’s not their fault; it’s my fault.”

Roncalli’s Claire Whalen sank a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer to tie the game at 20. The Bull Dogs (16-7) had led 11-9 after the first quarter. They (16-8) took an 18-13 lead before the Rebels held a 7-2 edge the rest of the half.

“We don’t pick up a couple of loose balls,” McKee said. “They make a couple of baskets to tie it and carry that momentum into the second half.”

Roncalli controlled the third quarter, outscoring North 11-6 to take a 31-26 lead. Then, the Rebels dominated a fourth quarter where the Bull Dogs managed a mere three points.

“They scored the first couple of baskets in the third quarter, and they’re playing a very deliberate game,” McKee said. “They’re working the clock and being efficient. For whatever reason, we’re not converting. From the middle of second quarter on, I think they got every loose ball. We would finally get a rebound and we bring it down, and they tie us up.

“Give them credit they played well. They had a plan. They executed it really well. We executed our plan early well, but once we got behind, the tempo went their way, and we couldn’t seem to change the tempo. We couldn’t get a stop and a fast-break bucket, and a couple things to get enthusiasm going.”

Senior guard Maliah Howard-Bass led North with 11 points.

Junior center Sophie Daniel led the Rebels with 12 points and senior guard Paige Saylor added 11 points. The Rebels held a 23-20 edge in rebounds. North committed 16 turnovers compared to 11 for Roncalli.

“Defensively we did a nice job,” Roncalli coach Stan Benge said. “They’re a pretty good defensive team. We missed a lot of shots early when we got behind 18-13. We calmed down a little bit and took what they gave us and were able to do enough to get the wins. We rebounded well, and that’s what I’m proud of.”