Early rally leads Bull Dogs to win

INDIANAPOLIS — Columbus North had a solid start to Tuesday night’s Conference Indiana opener at Southport, but needed a strong fourth quarter to secure the win.

The Bull Dogs got in front early by scoring the first 11 points while not allowing a bucket until just under two minutes remained in the first quarter. They went on to post a 57-44 victory.

“We did some good things early, and I’m very pleased with that,” North coach Pat McKee said. “In fact, we probably could have done a little more early. We missed a couple easy shots in that early run.”

The Bull Dogs (2-1, 1-0) outscored Southport 15-4 in the first quarter and ended the first half with a 27-16 lead. The Cardinals (0-5, 0-1) found their rhythm in the third quarter to threaten the North lead.

Southport hit three 3-pointers and outscored North by six points in the third quarter. The Cardinals came within three points before Tessa Lomax scored on a putback at the buzzer to give the Bull Dogs a 41-36 lead heading into the final period.

“(Southport) adjusted to our pressure a little bit, and they got the ball kind of to some spots, and then we didn’t close out as well as we should have,” McKee said. “They’ve got some good players. They can shoot the ball.”

North shortened the game by taking about two minutes off of the clock early in the fourth quarter on a possession that included three offensive rebounds. Jenna Borger, who led the Bull Dogs with 13 points, got North back on track with a 3-pointer to start the quarter. All three of her field goals came from behind the arc.

“It felt good to start making some shots because I haven’t been shooting as well lately,” Borger said.

Kenzie Patberg followed Borger’s 3-pointer with two quick buckets on a rebound and a steal to give the Bull Dogs a 12-point cushion. Kenzie Patberg scored five of her 10 points in the fourth quarter and had eight rebounds on the night. Borger also had five points in the final eight minutes.

“I think we had more mental toughness in the fourth quarter,” Patberg said. “We stopped thinking so much and just played. … I think having those points gave our team momentum, and it gave them the mentality to just play.”

Lomax finished with 12 points and led North with nine rebounds. Chelsi Giesige added 10 points off the bench.

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