BLOOMINGTON — It was a game of cat and mouse in Bloomington Friday night between the Columbus North and Bloomington North.
In the end, it was the proverbial cat that finally caught the mouse. In this case, it was the Bull Dogs who finally caught the Cougars at the end of regulation and then went on to defeat them in overtime 75-71 in a Conference Indiana matchup.
Bloomington North led the majority of the game. Columbus North would close in on the lead, and then the Cougars would pull away.
The Bull Dogs trailed by five at the half and were down as many as seven with 3:53 remaining in regulation. It took incredible poise and a career night from the Bull Dogs’ Trey Vincent to push this game into overtime. Vincent took over in the fourth quarter, getting to the basket at will and getting fouled on his way to a career-high 29 points, 24 coming in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“I felt like when we were down five or six, my team needed me. When (Bloomington North guard Tim) Brewster fouled out, I thought I could get to the basket because he wasn’t guarding me. He is a really good defender,” Vincent said.
Columbus North (12-9, 4-3) never led in the second half, and the only time they were tied was early in the third quarter at 33 and at the end of regulation. Vincent hit two clutch free throws with nine seconds remaining to tie the game at 65, and the Bull Dogs were able to make a stand defensively push the game to overtime.
In the overtime period, Columbus North started strong, thanks to Bailey Hester. His three-point play gave the Bull Dogs their first lead of the game since they led 12-10 in the first quarter. Another bucket from Hester from the baseline gave them their biggest lead at five points.
From there, it was all Vincent, and all from the free-throw line. He sank nine of his 10 free throws to ice the game. Vincent finished 14-15 from the charity stripe.
“We showed tremendous heart tonight,” North coach Paul Ferguson said. It’s hard when you creep close, and then they make a play, and you are never able to tie or lead the game. But I think we showed great poise down the stretch.”
The Cougars (6-14, 2-5) jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead. After a Trenton Kelly hoop, Bloomington North pushed its lead to 8-2. Columbus North battled back and used a 10-2 run to take a 10-8 lead on a Hester 3, but the Cougars answered right back and took a 15-14 lead into the second quarter.
Once again, Bloomington North began the quarter strongly to take a quick four point lead with 7:20 remaining in the first half. The Bull Dogs were able to chip away once again and tie the game at 20 on a Patrick McKinley layin with 4:15 left in the half. The Cougars led 33-28 at halftime.
Columbus North came out of the locker room and quickly tied the game at 33, but Bloomington North once again was able to pull away. The Bull Dogs cut the lead to two on three occasions, but could never get over the hump.
The Cougars took a five point lead into the fourth quarter and held Columbus North at bay until 40 seconds remained in regulation. Leading by four points, Bloomington North freshman Isaac Vencel went to the foul line with a chance to extend the lead. He missed the first of his one-and-one, however, and the Bull Dogs were able to capitalize by hitting their two free throws to pull within two with 15 seconds left.
Columbus North then fouled Brewster with 12 seconds left. He too, missed the front end of a one-and-one. That allowed the Bull Dogs to get ball into Vincent’s hands, and he was fouled with nine seconds remaining.