The day after losing a late fourth quarter lead, Columbus North came out with high energy Saturday night in a 75-31 win against Jennings County.
The Bull Dogs jumped on the Panthers early in the first, opening the quarter on a 17-4 run. Coming out in a press, North forced three quick turnovers, which translated to easy points on the offensive end.
Freshman Blake Barker sank three 3-point baskets en route to 14 points on the night pacing the Bull Dogs to a 22-8 lead heading into the second quarter.
North continued to cause troubles for the Panthers offense in the second quarter, switching to a man-to-man defense. Pestering the Panthers up the court, the Bull Dogs forced six turnovers while outscoring Jennings 9-3 in the first five minutes of the quarter to take a 31-11 lead.
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“We thought we had a chance to get some offense out of our defense early,” North coach Paul Ferguson said. “We told our guys before we felt like we had two opponents tonight. The first was ourselves, and the second was Jennings County. We needed to bounce back from a tough loss and just mentally get ourselves in the mindset of coming out playing our best basketball game of the season.”
The Bull Dogs (6-6) kept the defensive intensity up in the third quarter, forcing four turnovers in outscoring the Panthers (3-10) 25-6. Trey Vincent led the charge for North in the quarter, scoring six of his team-high 15 points.
“We were really down (Friday),” Vincent said. “Coach came in today and said that we needed pick up the energy. A lot of people have been in my ear, including coach before the game, and said I needed to be a little more aggressive for us to reach our potential.”
The Bull Dogs played an unselfish game, finishing with 25 assists on 31 made baskets, while having their lowest turnover output of the season, only giving the ball away three times.
Jennings played under control in the fourth, keeping pace with North, led by the energy of freshman reserve Landin Hacker, who sank two 3-point baskets early on. Travis Wilson led the Panthers with eight points, while Aaron Martin had six.
“Their length bothered us, that’s for sure. That’s something we can’t simulate in practice very well,” Jennings coach Josh Land said of his team’s 16 turnovers. “We missed a lot of easy shots in the lane, and I think that frustration on the offensive end carried over to the defensive end.”