Columbus North boys basketball coach Jason Speer wondered whether he could have used a different kind of defense.
His Bull Dogs had just beaten visiting Perry Meridian in a 70-66, Conference Indiana shoot-out that appeared to be all offense.
It was just one of those nights when everything that went up, seemed to come down through the net.
“Both teams were feeling it from the outside,” said Speer, who had to squirm a bit after his team took a 54-41 lead into the final quarter, then had to survive a barrage of on-target outside jumpers by the Falcons. “I thought both teams executed their offense very well.”
Fortunately for North, it was just as deadly shooting from the outside. The result was a thrilling four quarters of action for those lucky enough to see it.
Perry Meridian (10-2 overall, 2-1 Conference Indiana) proved it belongs in talks about the best teams in the state. With a trio of stars in Anthony Hardy (23 points), Curtis Green, Jr. (21 points) and Dylan Windler
(14 points), the Falcons are going to be a load for any team to handle.
Time after time, those three would drill an outside jumper when North was playing some of its best defensive basketball. In fact, Perry Meridian got almost nothing accomplished in the paint all night against the defense of Josh Speidel and Elliott Welmer.
Even so, the Falcons went 24 of 44 from the field.
“It can be frustrating,” said North guard Trent Larson. “But you have to stick with it. Eventually, they won’t go in. You just give it your best effort on defense.”
Fortunately for the Bull Dogs, they had one of their best offensive performances of the season.
In the opening half, when Perry Meridian coach Brent Keck ran a 3-2 zone at North, the Bull Dogs (13-3, 2-0) worked the ball all around the court to find the open man. They hit seven 3-pointers in the first half as they built a 36-24 lead.
Then in the second half, with Perry Meridian switching to a man defense, Speidel (11 points) and Welmer (9 points) couldn’t be stopped inside. When Speidel wasn’t scoring, he was dishing off for easy baskets.
North’s only lull came early in the fourth quarter when Perry Meridian went on a 13-0 run to cut the lead to 58-54 with just over four minutes remaining.
North, which shot just 16 of 31 from the line on the night, did just enough from the free throw line the rest of the way for the win.
“First off, we got the penetration at the beginning of the game that got us going,” said Larson, who finished with 23 points, including three key free throws in the final minute. “We got those kick-out 3s.
“But it was a pretty crazy game.”
North was 6 for 12 from the line in the final 1:14 which allowed Perry Meridian to make it interesting.
When Green dropped a long 3-pointer with 27.9 seconds left, North’s lead dwindled to 68-66.
Perry Meridian immediately fouled Larson, but he dropped both his shots for the four-point lead.
Evan Henry scored 12 points for North, including three 3s, Christian Glass had eight points and Kooper Glick scored seven.