BLOOMINGTON — Columbus North played a solid three quarters in its Conference Indiana matchup against Bloomington South, but a three-point fourth quarter stopped the Bull Dogs from winning their ninth straight game.
The Panthers had a slow first half start, but outscored North by 12 points in the second half to secure the 40-33 victory. Alex King’s 21 points and five rebounds was not enough to give Bloomington South its first conference loss of the season.
“Hats off to Bloomington South — they outplayed us in the fourth quarter,” North coach Paul Ferguson said. “It’s disappointing that we didn’t execute better.”
The Bull Dogs (13-7, 2-4) started the game with a 9-2 run and kept the lead for most of the first half. Ferguson said North had a great defensive game plan going into the game which allowed the Bull Dogs to hold the Panthers (16-3, 7-0) to just one field goal in the second quarter.
“We executed it really well and played well enough to win the game,” Ferguson said. “Unfortunately, we were just not efficient enough offensively in the fourth quarter … it just got out of sync offensively.”
It was a back-and-forth third quarter, but North managed to cling to a 30-28 lead going into the fourth. The Bull Dogs could not find any offense in the last eight minutes, with their only points coming from 3-of-6 shooting at the free-throw line.
Bloomington South opened the quarter with a 5-0 run before North’s Ethan Mitchell knocked down two free throws to tie the game at 33 with just over four minutes left. The Panthers scored on a two-point bucket and hit one of two free throws with 40 seconds left in the game. North tried to tie it, but King missed a 3-pointer.
An offensive rebound gave Jaylen Flemmons another shot to tie the game, but his 3-pointer rolled off the rim, and the Panthers rebounded the ball. The Bull Dogs were forced to foul, and some clutch free-throw shooting from Chance Coyle, who went 5 of 5 at the line, sent North home with a loss for the first time since Jan. 6.
Coyle lead the Panthers with 16 points. Trey Vincent had three steals and a block for the Bull Dogs.
“We feel like we’re playing good basketball,” Ferguson said. “This was a great opportunity to win a tough game on the road. We didn’t get it done tonight and we’re disappointed about that.”