INDIANAPOLIS — Columbus North boys basketball coach Jason Speer challenged his team to play more inspired at halftime of Saturday’s game at Perry Meridian.
The Bull Dogs responded.
A 26-13 advantage broke open the game and sent North (14-1, 3-1 Conference Indiana) to a 68-52 victory.
“We got the ball inside more and we played harder,” Speer said.
North, which led only 24-23 at halftime, came out slow against Perry Meridian, which dropped to 8-5.
With three minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Bull Dogs began a 13-0 run to end the quarter.
“Only having a one-point lead at halftime motivated us,” said North senior guard Sawyer Glick, who scored all seven of his points in the third quarter. “We knew we were a better team and we had to prove it.”
“Sawyer’s our guy,” Speer said. “He’s a leader by example and can be a true catalyst for our team.”
Bull Dogs sophomore Josh Speidel added seven points in the third quarter run. He led North with 18 points in the game and his lay-up at the three-minute mark of the third quarter gave the Bull Dogs a 33-32 lead.
North did not fall behind the rest of the game.
“Coach told us at halftime to play more physically,” Speidel said. “We played soft in the first half.”
North switched to a full-court press coming out of halftime and forced several Perry turnovers. The Bull Dogs capitalized and scored several easy baskets to bolster their lead. As Perry Meridian struggled to move the ball up court, it became frustrated and forced shots and bad passes. North’s defense kept the pressure on until Perry Meridian scored with a little more than a minute left in the quarter to end the run.
Junior guard Evan Henry added 14 points for the Bull Dogs and his defense helped contain the Falcons. “Coach told us we will do something special if we played the way we can,” said Henry. “On this team, anybody can step up at any time to lead.”