A Columbus North team without a lot of varsity basketball experience looked at times to be in midseason form in Tuesday night’s season-opener.
The Bull Dogs used a 9-0 run to start the second half and pull away for a 65-43 win against Heritage Christian.
“I thought we played pretty good for our first game,” said Bailey Hester, who had 11 points and eight rebounds. “I thought we were a little sloppy the first half, but we came out the second half and really put the nail in the coffin.”
Hester and fellow senior Jaylen Flemmons were the only Bull Dogs on the court with significant varsity experience. Flemmons led North with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Blake Barker, a freshman who played for the Columbus Christian varsity as an eighth-grader last year, hit two early 3-pointers and finished with 12 points. Lakeevan Whedon, starting at point guard for the injured Trey Vincent, added nine points, seven assists and four steals.
“We’re obviously missing some guys, and I was really pleased with the way our guys stepped up and played with a lot of poise,” North coach Paul Ferguson said. “I thought our pressure wore them down in the second half. We had some big turnovers that we got in the second half and had some easy buckets, which opened our lead up.”
The Bull Dogs led 32-21 on a Nicholas Schiavello 3-pointer with 2:05 left in the first half. The Eagles then scored the final seven points of the half to cut the lead to 32-28.
North then scored the first nine points of the second half. Flemmons opened with a basket, followed by Barker’s third 3-pointer of the night. Two more Flemmons baskets gave North a 41-28 lead.
The Bull Dogs expended the lead to 54-34 on a basket and a 3-pointer by Hester late in the third quarter. Their biggest lead came at 65-41 on a basket by Matt Boldrey before Heritage Christian scored the game’s final two points.
“It always feels good to get that first win,” Ferguson said. “We have a lot of things to work on. I thought a lot of times, we were undisciplined in our motion, but overall, I just loved the effort. I thought we played really hard, and we were unselfish.”
Ross Gill added eight points for North. The Bull Dogs outrebounded the Eagles 28-23.
North now turns its attention for Hauser for its Saturday evening matchup.
“It felt really good to get our first win in our first game,” Flemmons said. “We hope we can just watch the film and see what we did wrong and work on that so when we play Hauser, we can get another one.”