Josh Speidel and his Columbus North teammates couldn’t have played any better defense in the final 4.4 seconds of Friday night’s top-10 showdown with Mooresville.
With the Bull Dogs nursing a two-point lead, the 6-foot-8 Speidel had a hand in the the face of Mooresville’s 6-5 Carter VanWanzeele well beyond the 3-point line.
It didn’t matter.
VanWanzeele hit a 23-footer with three-tenths of a second remaining to give the Class 4A No. 7 Pioneers a 65-64 upset of 4A No. 5 North, ending the Bull Dogs’ 19-game home winning streak.
“He made a great shot about four steps, five steps off the 3-point line, and we had a hand right there,” North coach Jason Speer said.
“It was a big shot, but every possession matters, and we talked about playing a great team like Mooresville. They had the ball there at the end, and they made it count.”
The Bull Dogs (11-3) led by as many as 12 late in the third quarter and still led 57-48 with 4:40 left in the game. The Pioneers (10-1) hit a free throw to start an 8-0 run that brought them within one.
The key in the run was a five-point play. Mooresville’s Jonathan Hurt buried a 3-pointer from the corner, and at the same time, Clay Hilber was fouled in the lane. Hilber sank both ends of the one-and-one, bringing the Pioneers within 57-54 with 4:07 remaining.
After two more free
throws from Hurt, North got a 3-pointer from Evan Henry and a free throw from Speidel to push the lead back to 61-56. The Pioneers got back to within 63-62, before Kooper Glick made the second of two free throws to make it 64-62 with 18 seconds left.
Mooresville worked the
ball into the front court for a shot, but couldn’t find one it liked and called timeout with 4.4 seconds remaining. VanWanzeele caught the inbounds pass, took a couple of dribbles and let it fly.
“I thought Columbus North defended very well,” Mooresville coach Bob Carter said. “They switched it off, and we were trying to get either (Jacob Johnson) on a backscreen there or put them in a spot where they had to make some decisions. We got the ball into Carter, and he hit a great shot.”
Mooresville students and players ran onto the floor as the clock expired, but officials credited the Bull Dogs with a timeout and put three-tenths of a second back on the clock.
Speer set up a pick play under the Mooresville basket on the inbounds pass and thought Henry drew a foul. But it wasn’t called, and the inbounds pass was knocked down on the Bull Dogs’ end of the court.
The 6-7 Johnson, an Indiana Wesleyan recruit, led the Pioneers with 22 points. Hurt and Hilber each added 12.
“I thought North did a great job defensively on us,” Carter said. “They made it difficult for us. We haven’t ran into that much of a problem running offense as we did tonight. That’s why they’re the team that they are, and that’s why they’re rated like they are and why they had us down 10 or 12.”
Trent Larson scored 14 points in the first half and finished with 16 to lead the Bull Dogs, while Glick and Henry each added 15. Leading scorers Speidel and Elliott Welmer were held to nine and seven points, respectively.
Speidel grabbed 11 rebounds to lead North to a 35-21 advantage on the boards.
“We missed some free throws down the stretch,” Speer said. “We have to value every single possession against great teams, and they had the last one.”