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North weathers persistent Olympians to win rivalry game

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After getting off to slow starts in its past couple of games against Columbus East, Columbus North was more than thrilled to light things up at the beginning of Tuesday night’s crosstown shootout.

The Bull Dogs built an early lead, then fought off a third-quarter charge from the previously-unbeaten Olympians to pull away for a 69-59 victory.

“I think everyone was real excited, and we know that in the past, we notoriously get out to slow starts against East,” said Sawyer Glick, who led North with 19 points. “We got out to a hot start, but they stayed with us, so credit East for staying with us in the first quarter and weathering our hot streak to start.”

The Bull Dogs (5-1) went 9 of 14 from the field, including 3 of 3 from 3-point range in the first quarter to take a 23-18 lead.

“I think both teams kind of questioned their defense early,” North coach Jason Speer said. “Both teams came out firing.”

The Olympians (4-1) had as many turnovers (seven) as points in the second quarter, as the Bull Dogs extended the lead to 34-25 at the break. A basket by Glick to begin the third quarter gave North an 11-point lead.

That’s when East made its move. Zach Martindale and Bryce Lienhoop each scored four points in a 9-0 run that cut the margin to 36-34. The Olympians had a chance to tie or take the lead, but missed three consecutive free throws and a shot in the lane.

“I thought we missed some easy shots and some free throws,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “You have to hit layups, and normally, we do that. We’ll just keep at it.”

“I think for us, we were still going hard,” Speer said. “We just weren’t making real good decisions. We weren’t getting the ball in scoring positions. Credit East’s defense. They made some plays offensively, so they were able to get back in the game.”

The Bull Dogs answered with a 6-0 run to push the lead to eight and led by as many as 15 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the game.

“It was teamwork,” Glick said. “We basically have to play together. (East) really stepped up on defense and offensively. We had to regroup and do the same.”

Tori Jackson matched Glick with 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead North to a 36-24 advantage on the boards.

“We didn’t do a good job of blocking out,” Chitty said. “You have to block guys out and then go get the ball. That’s something that we can work on.”

Lienhoop led the Olympians with 12 points and five rebounds. Ridge Harris had 10 points and five rebounds, and Kyle Taylor scored 10 points.

Evan Henry scored 11 points for the Bull Dogs. Standout sophomore Josh Speidel was in foul trouble most of the game and was held to two.

“They have so many weapons,” Chitty said. “Josh is a very good player, but they have other weapons. You can’t just say ‘We have to hold this guy down.’ They’re a very talented group. They shoot the ball well, and they’re strong inside. They’re a good team.”

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