COLUMBUS North senior guard Sawyer Glick has had the conversation with head coach Jason Speer.
The one about winning on nights when the team doesn’t play its best basketball.
The Bull Dogs’ 79-53 victory against visiting Shelbyville on Friday night was accomplished in workmanlike fashion, even if it lacked the “wow” factor of North’s season-opening victory against Hauser.
“We have to win when we are playing good, not great,” said Glick, who put together an 18-point, four-assist night. “We will watch the film and find things that we have to work on.”
North never was really challenged, but it was taken a bit out of its game. The Bull Dogs had a huge height advantage at every position, and the Golden Bears managed to hang around, trailing only 38-27 at halftime.
“Shelbyville took every clean rebound,” Speer said. “They wanted to fight for every loose ball. It slowed down our fast break.”
North won the rebounding battle 29-23, but it probably should have been more.
Even so, Speer noted that his team got the job done.
“We won every quarter,” Speer said. “And that was a team that fought us hard.”
To the Golden Bears’ credit, they were scrappy even after North sophomore Josh Speidel had a spectacular opening. Speidel scored 12 of his 20 points in the first six minutes as North raced out to a 20-8 lead.
But Shelbyville responded with a few baskets off offensive rebounds against a team that is expected to dominate down low.
With the Golden Bears packing in a zone defense, the Bull Dogs were content to shoot away from the perimeter. North 6-8 center Tori Jackson didn’t have an inside field goal until the third quarter.
Glick noted that North does love working the ball inside the paint, then back out to the perimeter for open shots. The Bull Dogs went away from that strategy a bit against the Golden Bears. “I think we have to run our stuff,” Glick said. “We have practiced it for years. That’s our game, inside-out.”
Fortunately for North, it has plenty of talented shooters, too. Guard Evan Henry had a solid night, knocking down a couple of 3s and finishing with 16 points. Even Jackson, who led the team with eight rebounds, dropped a 3-point shot.
It looked like Speidel, who was nine for 10 from the floor, could have scored 50 if he so desired. What does Glick do when he sees his teammate red hot? “Feed him,” Glick said with a laugh. “He’s a great player.”
Shelbyville has a pretty solid player of its own in guard Adam Eads, who torched the Bull Dogs for 26 points. Eads knocked down six 3-pointers.
That’s one of those things that North will be working on in practice. Glick said the defense should have rotated better to put a hand in Eads’ face more often. Most of his 3s were uncontested.
Both teams had a solid night at the foul line. North went 19 for 20 while Shelbyville was 13 for 16.
Although Speer would have liked his players to be a little more aggressive on the boards, he was OK with the lack of penetration against the zone. “We have guys who can knock down shots from the perimeter,” he said.
Speer also was happy that his team showed it doesn’t mind a little contact. “We showed we can play a physical basketball game,” he said.
After a rock-’em, sock-’em type effort, North has to come right back tonight for a 7:30 p.m. game against Martinsville at Columbus North High School. Speer said it shouldn’t be a problem. “These guys are used to it,” he said of his players.
Glick agreed with his head coach. “Our conditioning will get us ready,” he said.