It took Columbus North girls basketball players Kat Norman exactly seven seconds to score her first points in her season debut against Jennings County after tearing her ACL.
Norman entered the game in the third quarter with 3:09 left, had also contributed a steal and rebound when she exited with 1:43 remaining in the Bull Dogs’ 60-35 victory against Jennings County.
“She came in ready to play. We got her the ball and she made the basket and drew the foul. It was a big basket too, as the game was still close at that point,” North coach Pat McKee said. Obviously, she played limited minutes, but we are delighted by what she gave us.”
Norman’s presence also energized the Bull Dogs.
“We were all excited to have Kat coming back. It gave us more energy to see her out there,” added Kenzie Patberg.
Jennings County had trouble with the relentless defensive pressure by the Bull Dogs for the first 12 minutes of the game. Columbus North had 10 steals in the first half, but could not create big distance, leading by just six point at the half.
“We came out with energy defensively and played hard, but we were not executing our layups,” Patberg said.
The Panthers’ Callie Wilder kept her team in the game by scoring 12 first half points, which matched the output of rest of her team. The Bull Dogs turned the ball over five times in the second quarter, allowing the Panthers to keep the game close.
North (12-4) led by as many as 10 points with 7:00 left in the first half on a steal and layup by Alexa McKinley. The Panthers fought back, however and cut the lead to two on a Baylee Byford jumper with two minutes remaining in the quarter. Two more steals by the Bull Dogs and a Liz Tynan layup stretched the lead to six to end the half.
The second half was more of the same from the Bull Dogs, but they were able to convert the Jennings County (3-12) turnovers into points. They opened the half with a 7-0 run to stretch the lead 37-24 before a Macy Roth 3-pointer stopped it with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter to cut the lead back to ten. This is as close at the Panthers would get.
North continued the defensive pressure and continued to convert Jennings County turnovers into points as the half wore on. They opened the fourth quarter with a 12-0 run to stretch the lead 25 points. Overall, they held the Panthers to just 11 second half points, outscoring them by 19 on their way to the victory.
“We were more controlled in the second half,” McKee said. “If we can play both halves like we played the second half, we are a pretty good team.”
Tynan led the Bull Dogs with 12 points, while Patberg added 11.Wilder scored team-high 14 points for the Panthers, and Addyson Kent added eight.