In a word, it was thunderous.
Columbus North guard Christian Glass saw 6-foot-8 teammate Josh Speidel sprinting toward the basket, and he tossed up a lob and waited for the roar.
Speidel took off, catching the ball with one hand and, in the same motion, ripping it through the basket.
It was just one play in North’s 72-45 destruction of a very good Franklin team, but that fourth-quarter thrill on Saturday afternoon at Columbus North High School represented four quarters of a collective team dunk.
The Bull Dogs (17-5) were coming off a 65-53 loss to Pike in which they simply played poorly. That was not the case on Saturday.
The Grizzly Cubs, known for frustrating opponents with a strangling brand of zone defense and half-court traps, were the ones left battered and frustrated.
North coach Jason Speer
questioned his players’ toughness after the loss to Pike. The Bull
“Our defense was great,” Speer said. “And we did a great job protecting the rim. I really think our defense was the catalyst, and our off-the-ball defense was fantastic.”
Franklin (13-4) never got into any kind of offensive flow and managed just 20 points by halftime as North assumed command at 31-20.
When the Grizzly Cubs did try their half-court trap, North passed out of it and attacked the basket.
“Our transition was much
better (than the loss to Pike),” Speer said. “I think we had the same number of opportunities, we just finished stronger.
“I was proud of our effort and
North senior Elliott Welmer led the Bull Dogs with 19 points and was a force on the offensive glass. Welmer had 10 points, including a dunk, in the third quarter when the Grizzly Cubs were trying to battle back.
North senior guard Evan Henry had 15 points, including 12 in the second half.
“I think we were just hitting our shots and playing North basketball,” Henry said. “That’s up-tempo and fast-paced.”
With North coming up with most of the loose balls and key rebounds, Henry noticed the Bull Dogs’ effort was taking its toll on the visitors,
who had won four in a row and seven of eight.
“I heard one of their players telling one of his teammates to ‘Shut up,’” Henry said.
Franklin’s frustration hit a
peak in the third quarter when one of its players was called for a foul, then a technical as well, forcing him to foul out.
North guard Kooper Glick made three of the four free throws from the two fouls and the Bull Dogs led 39-22.
The game also served as a showcase for Speidel, a junior who
finished with 13 points, including the 1,000th of his career. Speidel hit an inside bucket early in the second quarter to reach the milestone.
The game was stopped, and Speidel was awarded the ball and allowed to give his mom and dad, David and Lisa Speidel, a hug on
“It’s great,” Speidel said. “I can only thank Coach Speer, my past and present teammates and my parents. I can’t put it into words how this feels.”
Henry said it was a well-deserved honor. “It says something about his ability to be an inside presence to do that by going up against so many quality big men,” Henry said.
“Josh has been a tremendous talent since his freshman year,”
Speer said. “And he never has missed a start.”
Tyler Thomas led Franklin with 13 points while Dylan Phair and Bryce Platfoot each tallied 12.