Columbus North had too many scoring weapons for East Central on Friday night.
Seniors Maliah Howard-Bass and Ashlynn Huffman’s combined score tied the Trojan’s team total. They scored 16 points apiece in a 56-32 victory which advances the Bull Dogs to a sectional final showdown against its city rival Columbus East.
The Trojans struggled to score points, with the North defense allowing only one basket in the opening quarter and nine first-half points.
“We played really well in the first half offensively and defensively, especially defensively” North coach Pat McKee said. “That allowed the offense to come around. Third quarter maybe not quite as good, but give (East Central) credit. They came at us hard.”
The Trojans (17-7) scored their first basket three minutes into the first quarter and did not score again until more than a minute into the second. Howard-Bass and Jenna Borger, who finished with five points, scored all 13 of the Bull Dogs’ first-quarter points.
Huffman got it going in the second quarter, hitting all three of her attempts from 3-point range and scored 13 of her points in second period. She finished with four 3-pointers.
East Central has seven players on its roster who are listed a 6-foot or taller, including 6-foot-4 Alyssa Robben. But the Trojans height did not bother North (18-7).
“We knew they had a lot of size, but we also knew they didn’t handle the ball very well,” Huffman said. “I thought defensively, we got a lot of stops.”
McKee said if speed becomes even, then size wins, but the Bull Dogs were able to rely on their speed to combat the size of East Central.
North pushed its lead to 49-20 by the end of the third quarter. The Trojans found some offense in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 points and holding North to just seven, but the 29-point deficit to start the quarter was too big to overcome.
North has beaten East 10 consecutive times, with two of them coming in sectional championships. Howard-Bass hopes the Bull Dogs can carry on the ritual in her last sectional game in a North uniform.