INDIANAPOLIS — Columbus North’s Patrick McKinley scored the first bucket of the Conference Indiana game at Franklin Central on Friday, and the Bull Dogs kept their foot on the gas by leading the rest of the way.

McKinley scored seven of his game-high 17 points in the opening quarter and scored on seven of his eight shots to help North pick up a 61-39 win.

“Everybody was just sharing the ball really well, and I was just finding open shots and getting good baskets,” McKinley said. “Everybody played really good team basketball. I didn’t think I’d get the scoring output that I got tonight.”

North coach Paul Ferguson said McKinley did a nice job of finding holes in the zone defense of the Flashes (0-4, 0-1) that gave him opportunities to finish at the rim. McKinley’s fast start helped give North (4-1, 1-0) a 15-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Blake Barker caught fire from 3-point range in the second quarter to help push the lead to 34-15 by halftime. Barker hit all 3 of 3 3-pointers in the second quarter after going zero for four in the first eight minutes. He had 11 second quarter points and ended with 13.

“He’s a shooter, and he’s got to have that mentality of, ‘If he misses one, he thinks the next one is going down,’” Ferguson said. “More important than that, we had to get a little bit better movement and get some inside-out passing. Once we went inside-out, he had some open looks.”

The Bull Dogs scored half of their third quarter points at the free-throw line shooting 8 of 10 in the third period. North kept its 19-point lead heading into the fourth quarter and continued to shoot well from the line to close it out.

The Bull Dogs finished 19 of 25 from the free-throw line.

Jaylen Flemmons led the defensive end by coming away with four of North’s 12 steals to go with his seven points. Matt Boldrey led the bench with eight points.

“We try to get a lot of offense out of our defense,” Ferguson said. “They ended up turning it over 17 times and gave us some good fast-break opportunities.”

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