It was a taking care of business kind of night for Columbus North on Friday, and as usual, the Bull Dogs’ guards were in charge down the stretch in a 58-43 victory against visiting Mooresville.
The Bull Dogs (12-1) got a revenge of sorts after losing last season’s game to the Pioneers 69-64. On the other hand, this Mooresville team has struggled at 2-7 after going down in a game that wasn’t as close as the score.
Even so, North never did put the visitors completely away, and early in the fourth quarter it was North by a 44-35 margin. Junior guard Evan Henry then proceeded to spark a 10-2 run with seven points on his own.
“I thought we played tough defense tonight and we had a lot of poise,” North coach Jason Speer said. “And I think our perimeter guys have gotten used to carrying the burden at the finish in a lot of games. They have worked hard to develop those skills.”
Junior forward Elliott Welmer sparked the Bull Dogs with 15 points while Henry had 14 and fellow guard Sawyer Glick had 13.
It was a balanced scoring attack on a night when starting North forward Josh Speidel had an off-game with six points and center Tori Jackson managed just five.
As usual, Glick was a steadying influence throughout. “All their players played hard,” Glick said of the Pioneers. “They beat us last year, but we got a win and that’s all we care about.”
Welmer continues to improve as an offensive threat and he hit three of North’s nine 3-pointers. Glick also had three 3s.
Speer praised Welmer’s play, but he was more interested in talking about his defense on Mooresville forward Jacob Johnson, who was the game’s high scorer with 21 points. “Welmer did a tremendous defensive job on Johnson,” Speer said.
Johnson seldom had an easy shot from the perimeter, but if North had one glaring flaw, it was giving Johnson a free path to the basket when he did get a step on his defender. “We have to do a better job helping on defense,” Glick said.
Speer wasn’t too concerned that Johnson had 21. “It’s Indiana,” Speer said. “Everyone has a guy.”
If North wasn’t sure Johnson was a guy, he introduced himself with 14 of his team’s 19 points. The Bull Dogs, however, took care of everyone else in the lineup in building a 32-19 lead. It was much the same for the whole game as no Pioneer player other than Johnson scored more than five points.
Welmer got North off to a 15-11 lead after the first quarter with seven points. One came on a 3-pointer, but twice Welmer worked his way free inside the paint.
Glick keyed a 7-0 run toward the end of the first half with a steal and a fast-break bucket and then a 3-pointer to help the Bull Dogs to a comfortable lead at halftime.
North struggled offensive in the third quarter, but the defense set up some scoring opportunities and kept the Bull Dogs comfortably in front.
Then the guards handled the job down the stretch. “That just happens,” Glick said of the guards coming up big late. “We just have the ball in our hands. Our big guys can do it, too.”
With another win in the bank, Glick and his teammates are excited for the opportunities in front of them. “I feel like we are headed for great things,” Glick said.