BLOOMINGTON — As difficult as last week’s Conference Indiana title-clinching win was for Columbus North, Friday night’s quest to finish unbeaten in the conference was a far easier challenge.
The Bull Dogs jumped out to a big lead early and kept building it until the starters left the game at the end of the third quarter in what would become a 74-28 win at Bloomington North, enabling them to put the finishing touches on a seventh consecutive conference championship.
“The coaches really just told us to treat this like any other game,” senior Kelsey Patberg said. “It was really important to us because it was our last conference game. We made it important to ourselves, and we played like it was important. I’m just glad our team works hard and plays their best every game.”
Patberg had a career game off the bench for the Bull Dogs (16-5, 7-0). She had career highs of eight points and six rebounds. Her rebounding total led Columbus North to a 33-23 advantage on the boards.
Senior Annie Anderson also scored a career high with 17 points to lead the Bull Dogs. When she left the game for good after three quarters, she had outscored the Cougars (4-16, 1-5) 17-14.
Anderson scored 11 of her points in the first quarter to spark Columbus North to a 22-7 lead.
“I think that we had a lot of intensity and came out ready to play,” Anderson said.
Patberg began the second quarter with a 3-pointer. She hit another in a 10-0 run that extended the lead to 35-9.
The Bull Dogs led 38-11 at halftime.
“We wanted to play with the same intensity as the starters,” Patberg said.
Columbus North scored the first 18 points of the third quarter to build the lead to 56-11. Jenna Borger scored five of her 11 points in the period, which ended with a 62-14 Bull Dogs lead.
With mostly junior varsity players in the game the fourth quarter, Columbus North led by as big a margin as 71-18 with 4½ minutes remaining before Bloomington North finished the game on a 10-3 run. Brooke Bruin had two 3-pointers in the final period for the Bull Dogs.
All 15 healthy players in Columbus North’s varsity/JV pool saw action, and 11 scored. The win was a bounce back from Wednesday’s 48-30 loss at Class 4A No. 10 Zionsville.
“I thought they came out with a lot of confidence, moved the ball and made some shots,” McKee said. “Hopefully, we can continue this level of performance. They just have to believe in themselves.”