Columbus North finished fourth in its girls basketball invitational after losing both of its games Friday.
Northwestern proved why it is the top ranked team in Class 3A when it beat North 70-54 in in the semifinal round. The Tigers started the game with an 8-0 run and forced eight North turnovers in the first quarter to end the period with a 19-12 lead.
Jenna Borger picked up three fouls in the first quarter, which limited her playing time for the rest of the half, but scored eight of her 11 points in the final two quarters. Northwestern’s 22-point second quarter helped the Tigers take a 41-23 halftime lead against North.
The Bull Dogs found some rhythm late in the third quarter and cut the Northwestern lead to 65-53 midway through the fourth after being down by as many as 24 points at one point. North was not able to complete the comeback, though.
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“I thought there were moments we competed very well,” North coach Pat McKee said. “We need to extend those moments. Northwestern is a really good team. They executed, for the vast majority of the game, at a very high level. We made some mistakes and allowed separation to occur, but I don’t think we ever quit.”
Nadia Lomax led the Bull Dogs with 13 points, while Tessa Lomax added nine.
McKee said the Bull Dogs lacked energy to start the placement game against Mooresville. North fell behind early before losing 61-59 in overtime to the Pioneers. Paige Gregory of Mooresville scored 12 of her 19 points in the opening period to give the Pioneers a 17-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Elise Scaggs took it from there by scoring 11 of her 18 points in the second quarter to help extend the lead to 36-28 by halftime.
“We scored OK in the first half, but we just jogged back and didn’t close out on shooters,” McKee said. “We were not defending anywhere close to where we needed to. To Mooresville’s credit, they found the gaps and made all of their shots.”
The Bull Dogs (11-3) showed more intensity in the second half and outscored Mooresville 17-7 in the third quarter. Borger led the charge with nine third-quarter points to help North take a 45-43 lead on a Kenzie Patberg buzzer-beater jump shot.
Patberg got into some foul trouble midway through the fourth, so the Bull Dogs had to improvise. They decided to shorten the game a little by holding the ball to take more than two minutes off the clock with a three-point lead, so Patberg could come back in the game.
“We figured they would switch to man defense, which they did,” McKee said. “We weren’t terrible in our execution there, but we made one mistake at a point where if we would have made a little bit more of an aggressive play, it probably would have worked out in our favor and we would have won the game.”
The stall turned into an empty trip for North, and Mooresville tied the game on an and-one basket. North had a chance to win the game on 3-point shot that missed from Liz Tynan, and the game went into overtime.
The Pioneers scored on three 3-pointers in overtime that helped them get a two-point lead with three seconds left. The Bull Dogs ran a play out of a timeout that ended in a missed shot from Borger.
Alexa McKinley scored 10 points, while Tynan had nine. The Bull Dogs finished the invite 1-2.
“I think we were really good at times (during the invitational), Borger said. “But then other times we kind of lost our focus. We can definitely learn from this and play better.”