WHITELAND — Some sharp 3-point shooting by Alex King, stifling defense and a control of the boards all added up to a 46-38 Columbus North win at Whiteland on Saturday night.
King, the Bull Dogs’ 6-foot-8 forward, hit four 3-point shots and scored 28 to lead all scorers, but more importantly, lead North to its fifth consecutive win and eighth straight against the Warriors.
“I thought we did a great job, especially as (Whiteland) changed up its defense,” North coach Paul Ferguson said.
Adding to Whiteland’s misery was a dearth of scoring. That was unusual for a team that had been averaging 60 points a game.
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There’s some blame to pass around on that. The Bull Dogs (10-6) plead guilty with their defense, but the Warriors (10-4) couldn’t take of the ball at times on offense.
Those times were the second and third quarters.
Whiteland had perhaps its worst quarter of the season in the second, mustering only a field goal and four points. Fortunately for the Warriors, the Bull Dogs also were limited under 10 points in the quarter — which kept the game close, but they were able to double up on the Warriors tally with eight points.
But the telling tale was free throws. Whiteland missed six of them, and that might have made a difference late.
Despite the fast pace, both teams exhibited a lot of patience, making passes until an open man was found.
“We did a lot of that,” Ferguson said.
Most of the passing went to King, but King also did some passing of his own to open teammates. They were mostly on the spot, with North making only one passing error — that on a low percentage half-court pass.
But with King clogging the middle, there wasn’t much hope of the Warriors getting their inside game on at either side of the basket. King scored 12 of his 28 points in the third quarter.
“We needed to do a better job on King,” Whiteland coach Matt Wadsworth said. “We also didn’t do a good job of getting our shooters open and that’s something I have to look at.”
The Bull Dogs had a 13-point lead at one point in the third quarter and threatened to blow it open. However, Whiteland was able to close the gap to four with 4:12 left in the game.
That was as close as the Warriors could get though. North had enough poise to keep the lead and gradually increase it.
“Alex did a tremendous job of mixing up his game,” Ferguson said. “He got to the rim and had an outstanding performance shooting the 3s and with defense.”
Whiteland had only four offensive rebounds and 16 total. By contrast, the Bull Dogs had eight on offense and 19 defensive boards for 27 total.
“Defense has been our hallmark,” Ferguson said. “I think we’re playing our best basketball now.”