A loss to one Bloomington school led Columbus North to send a message against the other.

Friday night, the Bull Dogs celebrated senior night with a 69-48 Conference Indiana win against Bloomington North. The win was North’s ninth in the past 10 games.

“We had a great week of practice coming off a tough loss against Bloomington South,” senior point guard Nathan VanDeventer said. “We knew Bloomington North was a sectional opponent, and we kind of wanted to send a message, saying we’re here to contend for the sectional. The sky is the limit for this team.”

VanDeventer hit two early 3-pointers, and senior Peyton Russell — making his first career start — hit a 3 to give the Bull Dogs (14-7, 3-4) an early 11-5 lead. The Cougars (12-7, 3-4) came back to take a 17-15 lead before Alex King hit a 3 to spark a 9-0 run that gave Columbus North the lead for good.

The Bull Dogs still led 30-23 early in the third quarter when they used 10-0 run to break it open. Columbus North led 51-33 after three quarters and enjoyed its biggest lead at 67-42 with 1:15 left in the game.

“I think it’s one of the best games we’ve played all season,” senior Alex King said. “We shared the ball. We worked the ball around. We played great defense. We shut down their best player, who is an outstanding player having a great season.”

Bloomington North junior Musa Jallow came in averaging 24.9 points a game. The Bull Dogs, thanks in large part to junior Jaylen Flemmons, held him to 10.

Jallow has a scholarship offer from Indiana University.

“Jaylen Flemmons is an underrated defender,” North coach Paul Ferguson said. “He did a phenomenal job of staying in front of Musa and challenging his shot and blocking him out.”

King led Columbus North with 19 points, nine rebounds and six assists. VanDeventer added eight points and four rebounds.

The Bull Dogs had 23 assists on their 27 made baskets.

“Our players did an excellent job of executing our scouting report from start to finish,” Ferguson said. “They were locked in. We played incredibly unselfish tonight. We made the extra pass, and we made the right pass.”

Besides VanDeventer, Russell and King, the other Columbus North players to celebrate senior night were Zach Green, Ethan Mitchell and Stephon Peters-Smith.

“It’s awesome to celebrate with the other seniors,” VanDeventer said. “They’re brothers, and I love them to death. I’ll stick my neck out for them any day.”

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.