While everything might not have gone to plan, Columbus North boys basketball coach Jason Speer had to be pleased with his team’s ability to adapt.
The Bull Dogs (11-2) raced past visiting Jennings County 91-52 on Saturday in a somewhat unconventional manner, at least for this particular team.
Although North started the game on a rush, racing to a 12-2 lead out of the gate by dominating with their big men, the Bull Dogs had to switch to some small ball by the second quarter.
Jennings County post players Brad Hunt (6-foot-9) and Richard McNamee (6-5) both had two fouls by the 2:34 mark of the opening quarter. It appeared with those two limited, the Bull Dogs would take advantage inside.
Instead, North bigs Josh Speidel and Elliott Welmer got themselves into foul trouble as well and landed on the bench.
North switched to a small lineup, spearheaded by junior guard Kooper Glick (20 points) and senior point guard Evan Henry (15 points), that built a 41-31 lead at halftime.
“That’s probably the most we’ve gone that small for that long,” Speer said. “Our perimeter guys did an excellent job and our bigs finished well.”
Indeed, when Welmer and Speidel were back in the third quarter, the game turned into a nightmare for the Panthers (6-4). Hunt picked up his third and fourth fouls a minute and a half into the third quarter and the Panthers seemed lost from there.
North outscored Jennings County 23-7 in the third quarter to put the game away. Welmer finished with 16 points and Speidel had 14. Both were unstoppable inside in the second half.
Welmer converted the spectacular play of the game when junior guard Trent Larson set him up perfectly for a dunk on Hunt at the 6:21 mark of the fourth quarter. Hunt picked up his fifth foul and was done for the night, finishing with 10 points.
By that time, the game had long since been decided.
“It was the first time all year we lost our composure,” said Jennings County coach Joe Hartwell. “When Brad got his fourth foul, that was it.”
Hartwell was not pleased his team allowed 91 points.
“It’s killing me right now,” he said.
Glick’s 20 points, which came on a variety of slashing moves and jumpers, had to be good news for the Bull Dogs. He sprained his ankle in the first game of the year but is finally starting to round into form.
“I’m not 100 percent,” Glick said. “But my adrenaline gets going, and I’m ready to go.”
Does that mean North has yet to see his best? “I guess you could say that,” he said.
With Welmer and Speidel on the bench in the first half, the North bench stepped up. Players such as Christian Glass, Nick Littrell and Devin Mann turned in quality minutes.
“It’s just next guy ready to step up,” Glick said. “We knew we had to play more of a perimeter base. We knew that (Speidel and Welmer) weren’t out there, but with all guards, we had to go to more of a transition game. It was good that we saw that in case it happens (in the future).”
McNamee led Jennings County with 13 points.