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North defends title at home


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After junior guard Ali Patberg scored her 1,000th career point Saturday in Columbus North’s 76-37 semifinal victory against Notre Dame Academy of Kentucky, the game was stopped so that Patberg could be honored.

But the real tribute to Patberg came in the championship game of the Subway/Columbus North Invitational.

With Roncalli pulling out all the stops to get back into the game, Patberg simply took over.

Patberg scored 10 of her 22 points in the fourth quarter of the Bull Dogs’ 66-56 victory, and in the final three minutes, she had the ball in her hands the majority of every North possession.

With just over a minute remaining and the Bull Dogs up 62-55, Patberg dribbled all around the court, the Rebels in pursuit. Finally, she saw her opening and drove to the bucket for a basket, and the game had been decided.

“It’s just her court presence,” North coach Pat McKee said of Patberg, who scored 13 points in the semifinal win to finish the day with 1,028 points. “It’s the scoring, of course, but more than that is her court presence.”

Patberg and North senior guards Tayler Goodall (14 points in the title game, 15 points in the semifinal) and Kelsey Cunningham (6 points in each game) were named to the all-tournament team. It was the Bull Dogs’ second consecutive championship in their invitational, and it wasn’t easy.

North (11-1) trailed 15-9 after the first quarter in which it probably seemed to the home school’s fans that visiting Roncalli was getting every call. A missed traveling call on Roncalli in the first quarter led to a layup and Patberg was called for her second foul at the 6:06 mark of the second quarter when she was plowed over by the Rebels’ Lindsey Corsaro, who was the game’s lead scorer with 23 points.

When Corsaro made her two free throws, North was behind 19-11.

The Bull Dogs answered with a 16-2 run that gave them a 27-21 lead. North’s Paige Littrell (15 points) sank two 3s during the run and Goodall had one. Roncalli (10-2) never saw the lead again.

“We have talked to our kids about no matter the game circumstances, we play our game,” McKee said. “That win was a credit to our kids. We didn’t play well early, but there was no real panic. We tried to weather the storm.

“In the second quarter our defense started to pick it up. We created stops, and started to get breaks, and the momentum.”

Roncalli coach Stan Benge said North was just “a great team.”

“They took advantage of every open shot,” he said.

In the earlier win, the Bull Dogs also left Notre Dame coach Wyatt Foust similarly impressed.

“They smothered us,” Foust said of the Bull Dogs. “We couldn’t get into any kind of an offense. We usually are pretty good in our man offense. North made us look like a pitiful basketball team.”

Patberg sank two free throws in the third quarter of the semifinal game, the second giving her 1,000 points.

“I’ve never really thought about 1,000 points,” said Patberg, who was verbally committed to Notre Dame. “But it means a lot. They’re going to say my name, but it’s really about our team. I couldn’t do it without my teammates, and our coaches.”

Goodall scored her 1,000th career point in Friday’s opening round of the tournament. Patberg became the ninth player in team history to score 1,000 points.

“Tayler said she wished that we could have done it in the same game,” Patberg said. “I love it.”

Other players on the all-tournament team were Roncalli’s Kellie Kirkhoff and Corsaro, Mater Dei’s Maura Muenstermann and Tori Schickel, Richmond’s Mackenzie Taylor, Rufus King’s Shakeela Fowler and Mishawaka’s Taylor Parmley.

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