The Bull Dogs staked their claim as one of the top girls’ basketball teams in the state in dramatic fashion Saturday, using a buzzer-beater to top Lawrence North 64-62 at home.
The matchup featured two of the state’s three top ranked teams. Columbus North (4-0) won the opening tip but fell to a quick 6-3 deficit. Strong press defense from the Bull Dogs forced several Lawrence North (2-1) turnovers and allowed North to go on a 7-0 run to close the first quarter and put them up by five points. The streak carried into the early minutes of the second quarter, as North scored six unanswered points to start the period. Sophomore Ali Patberg tallied 7 points in the quarter and North went into halftime leading 28-17.
The Bull Dogs continued to build their lead, beginning the third quarter with a 9-0 run to put them up by 20.
“We talked at halftime about doing a better job blocking out and rebounding,” Columbus North junior Taylor Goodall said. “That’s something we work on in practice and we did well tonight. It helped us starting the second half.”
The fast-paced and aggressive defense utilized by Lawrence North began to wear them down, and fatigue started to show as Lawrence North cut the lead to 12 by the end of the third period. The Wildcats opened the fourth quarter by outscoring the Bull Dogs 15-5 and cut the lead to only two points with two and a half minutes left in the game. North struggled to get back on defense and keep up with the athletic Wildcats team.
“Lawrence North didn’t give up,” Patberg said. “We made some mental mistakes because we were tired, and we struggled on defense.”
Lawrence North senior Mikale Rogers scored 7 points during the run. Sophomore Lamina Cooper scored and drew a foul for Lawrence North with 48 seconds remaining. When Cooper hit the free throw, the game was tied at 62, and the momentum had seemingly completely swung to the Wildcats.
Lawrence North pressed the Bull Dogs, and Patberg was able to draw a foul on the in-bound pass. The sophomore went one of two from the line and gave Columbus North the lead.
“When I hit the first it felt good, but I obviously wanted to hit the other, but it didn’t fall,” Patberg said. Goodall hit the first of two free throws with four seconds left, and Lawrence North rebounded the missed second shot.
“When you miss a big shot like that you can’t focus on it,” Goodall said. “You have to have confidence and work hard to get the ball back.”
Columbus North was led by Patberg who scored 29 points and Goodall added 14 points.
Columbus North will face conference opponent Pike on the road Saturday.