Golden Bears deal North first loss of season

SHELBYVILLE — A slow start left Columbus North in a big hole early Friday night.

The Bull Dogs made a run to get back in the game, but Shelbyville scored the final 19 points of the third quarter and went on to hand North its first loss of the boys basketball season, a 64-47 defeat.

“There were some moments we played pretty well offensively, but we had some really bad stretches with some bad turnovers, and it cost us,” North coach Paul Ferguson said. “We just couldn’t get close enough to make a run.”

The Bull Dogs led 3-2 early on a Bailey Hester 3-pointer, but an 11-0 run gave the Golden Bears (3-0) a 10-point lead. Shelbyville stretched the margin to 25-9 and still led 34-19 with a minute left in the first half.

That’s when North made a little bit of a move. Baskets by Lakeevan Whedon and Ross Gill cut the lead to 34-23 at halftime.

Hester, who led the Bull Dogs with a career-high 18 points, scored the first two baskets of the second half to pull North within 34-27. But then the Golden Bears held the Bull Dogs scoreless the rest of the period, taking a 53-27 advantage.

Shelbyville led by as many as 30 early in the fourth quarter. North outscored the Golden Bears 18-5 over the final 6½ minutes.

“We talked at halftime that we really needed to get our heads back in it,” Hester said. “We worked as hard as we could to bounce back. We had a few sloppy turnovers, and that kind of hurt us mentally, but fourth quarter, we really bounced back. We really worked our butts off. We didn’t give up. But we still have some things to work on.”

Whedon finished with 11 points and five steals for the Bull Dogs. Jaylen Flemmons led North with seven rebounds.

Shelbyville shot 59.1 percent (26 of 44) from the field, including 46.7 percent (7 of 15) from 3-point range, and outrebounded the Bull Dogs 29-18. Zach Kuhn led the Golden Bears with 20 points and 15 rebounds.

North, which visits Martinsville tonight, could see Shelbyville again in the Columbus East Sectional.

“They’re a very athletic team that’s really efficient offensively,” Ferguson said. “We struggled guarding them all night. They have a chance to make some noise in the sectional this year, and this is a game we just need to learn and grow from.”

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