BLOOMINGTON — Larry Winters was pleased with the effort his Bloomington South girls basketball team put forth in its 52-32 loss to No. 1-ranked Columbus North on Friday night.
“We did everything we needed to do defensively,” the veteran coach said.
He might have added the Panthers also controlled the early pace.
But South’s positives weren’t nearly enough to upset the Bull Dogs, who are 20-0 overall and 6-0 in Conference Indiana.
The Bull Dogs survived a slow start and easily polished off the rival Panthers, 10-5 overall and 3-3 in conference.
The victory for the undefeated Bull Dogs set the school’s single-season record for consecutive wins. After a sluggish first quarter, it was smooth sailing for the Bull Dogs.
“They always play good at home,” North’s Ali Patberg said of Bloomington South. “They slowed it down a lot, and we allowed it. We didn’t push the ball early, and that was my fault.”
North led only 8-6 at the first stop. But with a 20-point second quarter, the Bull Dogs established a 26-16 lead at halftime.
“We played the way we played them because they have so many weapons,” said Winters, now in his 14th year at Bloomington South. “But Patberg was the difference. She is able to do so much. She is a tough match-up.”
Patberg, North’s point guard, finished at the top of at least three statistical columns. Limited to nine field-goal attempts by South’s Jacqueline Forney, the sophomore still scored a game-high 17 points. Patberg also pulled down a game-high eight rebounds and was credited with five assists.
Tayler Goodall added 15 points to North’s offensive output. Hanna Ballard, North’s only senior, scored 10 but said her biggest contribution came on the defensive end where South was held to 24 points below their season average.
“The defensive end is my favorite place to play,” said Ballard. “We spend a lot of energy on that end. That’s where we have to play hard if we are going to be good on the offensive end.”
Kept on the perimeter by Bloomington South’s game plan, North shot poorly from beyond the 3-point line. Hitting only 5-of-20 from distance, North utilized 1-2-1 and 2-2-1 full-court pressure and its suffocating half court man defense to force 16 turnovers, several of which led to successful Bull Dog layups. North, entering the game sporting a 41-point defensive average, limited the Panthers to only 8-of-29, 30 percent shooting from the field.
North pushed the pace throughout the second quarter and most of the third before shortening the game considerably with a four-corner, delay offense late in the third period and much of the fourth. The Bull Dogs took extremely good care of the basketball. After committing four turnovers in the first quarter, North had only five miscues in the final 24 minutes.
The Bull Dogs opened a 14-point lead in the third quarter and slowly extended their lead in the fourth despite scoring only one field goal. Emmy Schabel hit a 3 at the 6:48 mark. The remainder of the game was a North parade to the foul line where the Bull Dogs hit 11-of-14.
South (10-5, 3-3) — which entered the game with losses to Ben Davis, Franklin Central, Center Grove and Indianapolis Pike — was led in scoring by the 10 points of Lauren Whitlatch. The defeat was South’s third in a row.