Columbus North’s defensive pressure helped lead the team to scoring the most points it has scored all season when the sectional host played Shelbyville on Tuesday night.

The Bull Dogs (17-7) ended the game with 12 steals after forcing 11 of those in the first two quarters on their way to a 87-25 opening-round victory.

“It’s about energy,” North coach Pat McKee said. “Tonight we had really good energy. We created some turnovers and got some easy ones. One thing led to another, and we were able to play really well.”

North (17-7) moves on to Friday’s semifinals, where it will face East Central (17-6) at 7:30 p.m. McKee said he hopes the team continues to play the way it did against the Golden Bears.

Maliah Howard-Bass led all scorers with 22 points and had four steals, and the forced turnovers created a number of fast-break opportunities. Kenzie Patberg had a game-high five steals to go with her eight points, and Ashlyn Huffman forced three steals, as well.

Shelbyville (5-18) hit an early 3-point basket to take a 3-2 lead in the first two minutes of the game before North went on a 16-0 run. The Golden Bears did not score another basket until 1:50 remained in the opening quarter.

Points were hard to come by for Shelbyville at the beginning of the second quarter, which seemed almost identical to the first. Alexis Tackett began the quarter with a 3-point basket after for the Golden Bears following a North basket. But then the Bull Dogs went on a 22-0 run to end the quarter.

Shelbyville scored 15 second-half points, which was five more than the first, but could not slow down North, which managed to put up 35.

McKee got some solid minutes out of his bench, including juniors Jenna Borger and Liz Tynan. Tynan hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 points. Borger finished with nine points and seven rebounds. Eleven of the 12 Bull Dogs who scored at least one basket.

Patberg said being able to count on the bench to close out games is good for the entire team to stay rested in hopes of going deeper into the tournament.

“It’s really important for us to get them in because we have Friday and hopefully Saturday, which is back-to-back,” Patberg said.

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Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5632.