Jenna Borger had a cut between her fingers, but she wasn’t letting that bother her in the biggest game of her life.
The Columbus North senior sharpshooter knocked down three 3-pointers in the first quarter and four in the first half Thursday night on her way to a game- and career-high 25 points.
That was just enough to help the Bull Dogs fend off a challenge from Columbus East in a 57-54 victory.
“I didn’t realize it, but I guess I got cut between my fingers,” Borger said. “I looked down, and there was blood on my shorts, so I had to quickly change my shorts and go back to the bench and put a Band-Aid on (the finger).”
Borger wasn’t out for long. She followed an 11-point first quarter with seven in the second for an 18-point first half. She had two-thirds of the first-half points for North, which was tied with the Olympians 27-27 at the break.
Borger’s hot shooting led East coach Danny Brown to break out of his conventional zone and go to a box-and-one on her, with Whitley Rankin chasing.
In the second half, Borger missed her only 3-point attempt, but went 7 of 8 from the free-throw line. She went 6 of 6 in the fourth quarter, when the Bull Dogs were 11 of 12 from the line overall to hold off an Olympians comeback attempt.
The 20-plus-point game was third in the last four outings for Borger, who had 21 at Greenwood last week and 21 Tuesday against Seymour. She continued her torrid shooting on Thursday.
“After I hit my first shot, I felt confident shooting, so I just kept doing it,” Borger said. “My coaches always tell me to shoot more, so I’ve been concentrating on just taking shots and, whether they go in or not, keep shooting. I just happen to be making them recently.”
While Borger slowed down in the third quarter, fellow senior Liz Tynan picked up where she left off. Tynan’s three third-quarter 3’s, including one in the closing seconds of the period, helped North build a 44-38 lead going to the fourth.
The Olympians, led by a valiant effort from Addy Galarno (19 points), tried to make a comeback in the final period. They got to within 54-51 on a Claire Cunningham basket with 2:15 left, but the Bull Dogs were able to hang on for their 12th consecutive win in the series.
“It was big. Everyone was saying how this was East’s year, and luckily, we had home-court advantage, and that home crowd, and we pulled together and got this one. It was just a big team win.”
North, however, won’t have that home-court advantage in the sectional, when the teams stand a good chance of meeting again with much bigger stakes on the line.
This year’s sectional is at East Central. That was the venue where the Olympians last beat North, with that coming in the 2011 sectional.