North coach Paul Ferguson thought that Pike’s size would be a challenge in the Bull Dogs first game of the Noblesville Invitational on Wednesday, so he decided to play a zone.

“We chose to play zone because Pike can kill you inside. We didn’t think they were a great outside shooting team,” Ferguson said.

The zone was effective enough to only allow Pike to hit 3 of 15 3-pointers. However, the Red Devils found other ways to put the ball in the basket on their way to a 57-40 victory.

They were able to find some gaps in the North defense for some easy baskets from close range. The majority of those buckets came from Pike’s leading scorer, Steve Miller who had 21 points.

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Meanwhile, the Bull Dogs were having trouble finding any good looks against the Red Devils’ man to man defense. They were able to score only six points in the first quarter and trailed 17-6 after the first eight minutes.

Pike’s defense continued to be stingy for the remainder of the first half. The Bull Dogs had very few good looks as the Red Devils suffocated North. Although the Bull Dogs were able to slow Pike down offensively, they still trailed 27-14 at the intermission.

The Bull Dogs were able to play even with Pike for much of the third quarter until a Hunter White jumper stretched the Red Devils lead to 42-23 with 2:45 left.

The Bull Dogs pulled within nine points with 2:30 left in the fourth quarter, but Pike pushed the lead back to 15 with 1:44 remaining to put the game out of reach.

“We made a run to get it down to 11 at the end of the third quarter, but we had a couple of costly turnovers,” Ferguson stated. “I thought we executed our game plan well. We were patient offensively. Their size and athleticism gave us trouble.”

Bailey Hester ended with 12 points for the Bull Dogs and Flemmons had 11.

The Bull Dogs lost 63-44 to Chesterton in the second game. Flemmons got the Bull Dogs off to a strong start by scoring the first eight points of the game. North led 14-12 at the end of the first quarter.

A 3-point basket by Chesterton’s Austin Peterson followed by a 2-point basket to end the half left North (4-6) trailing by five at halftime.

The Trojans began the second half on a 17-2 run to break open a close game. Chesterton hit 3-pointers in the third quarter. The Trojans kept the momentum in the fourth quarter and pulled away even more before taking the game.

Flemmons led the Bull Dogs with 11 points.