No. 3-ranked Columbus North girls basketball team’s season is like a puzzle, with each game being a different piece of the bigger picture.
When the picture is complete, the Bull Dogs hope it reveals a state championship.
Columbus North added another piece on Saturday when it wrapped up the Conference Indiana title by downing Bloomington North 79-26. The Cougars could not find a solution for the fast paced style of play from the Bull Dogs.
Columbus North controlled the tempo of the game from the opening tip, using aggressive defense to keep the Bloomington North offense from finding any form of rhythm.
“Playing our tempo game has been a point of emphasis for us, particularly in second halves of games,” Columbus North coach Pat McKee said. “Last year, we’d become satisfied if we had a lead. We’re playing for something bigger than just today’s game, so we’ve talked about playing more consistently.”
“We’ve gotten better a playing our game and keeping our pace,” said junior Ali Patberg, who led all scorers with 21 points. “We’re looking not just at today but also beyond and what we have to do to improve for upcoming tournament play. We’ve learned to trust and push each other to achieve our goals.”
Columbus North (18-2, 5-0) utilized its bench, keeping players rotating to maintain the energy level. The entire roster played a role in the win, and the reserves were led by freshman Maliah Howard-Bass, who scored 10 points off the bench.
“We all work hard in practice to be ready to play when we get in the game,” Howard-Bass said. “We want to come in the game and keep the tempo up. It’s important we come off the bench and keep the energy up.”
“All these players on the team have skills and ability,” McKee said. “They all bring something to the table. We have wonderful players and they deserve all the credit. They work very hard to achieve what they do.”
Tayler Goodall added to her school career-leading 3-point count with four from beyond the arc, including three in the first quarter. She finished with 18 points.
“My teammates get the credit for finding me,” Goodall said. “When the shots are falling they help me find a way to get open. We’re improving as a team on playing to our ability and not letting down.”