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RICHMOND — Trailing by seven points late in the third quarter in Saturday night’s championship game of the Bob Wettig Memorial Tournament, Evan Henry and his Columbus North teammates didn’t panic.
Henry sank a 3-pointer that sparked a 12-0 run to end the period, and the Bull Dogs beat Jeffersonville 61-55 to defend their title with four wins in three days.
“I wasn’t worried that we wouldn’t be able to come back,” said Henry, who was named the tournament’s MVP.
“I knew with all our experience and all the offseason training we put in and everything, we’d be able to come back.”
The Bull Dogs (9-1), who knocked off host Richmond 67-48 in Saturday afternoon’s semifinals, struggled at both ends of the floor in the first half of the title game and trailed 37-30 at the break. Henry, who finished with 20 points, scored 13 of North’s 17 first-quarter points.
“I was just trying to get in a zone before the game,” Henry said.
“Evan offensively had a tremendous first half that really kept us in it,” North coach Jason Speer said. “We were cold offensively. We weren’t playing well defensively, and then the second half, I thought we played more characteristic of what we do. For today, we played three out of four halves really well.”
Jeffersonville (8-2) shot 53.8 percent (14 of 26) from the field in the first half, but only 29.2 percent (7 of 24) in the second half.
“Our defense was not good the first half,” Speer said. “We made some adjustments and challenged the guys to protect the rim a little bit better and keep those gates closed, and they responded.”
Josh Speidel, who was also named to the All-Tournament Team, scored eight of his 16 points in the fourth quarter.
He hit 3 of 4 free throws in the final minute after the Red Devils had cut the lead to two.
“We had to get defensive stops, obviously,” Speidel said. “They were scoring at will in the first half. They were getting all they wanted. We knew the offense would come.”
Tori Jackson added 10 points for the Bull Dogs on 5 of 5 shooting from the field. Speidel and Jackson each grabbed five rebounds.
In the semifinals, Sawyer Glick scored 12 of his 19 points in the first quarter, and Henry scored 12 of his 17 in the third period as the Bull Dogs unloaded on Richmond. Glick hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter and five in the first half.
“They were in that zone, so every time we got the ball inside or up top, they did a good job of finding me wide open in the corners,” Glick said.
North went 10 of 19 from 3-point range, while the Red Devils went 2 of 17.
“Richmond is very, very good behind the 3-point line,” Speer said. “They’re great shooters, so for us, we had to run them off the 3-point line, and defensively, we did a great job of that.
“We’re very capable,” he said. “I think if we’re shooting a very low percentage from the 3-point line, that’s not necessarily something that we expect. Sawyer had a great first half and got us off to a great start. Evan Henry made a few there in the second half from the 3-point line, but I thought Josh and Tori did a great job establishing the inside game.”
Speidel finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Jackson had nine points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field and 1 of 1 from the free-throw line.
Jennings finishes seventh
After losing a fourth-quarter lead in a 60-52 loss to Mt. Lebanon (Pa.) Saturday morning, Jennings County held off a Bishop Chatard rally in the afternoon to hang on for a 57-52 win in the seventh-place game.
The Panthers (8-4) used a 17-2 run to lead Chatard (5-5) 19-9 after one quarter. They led by as many as 14 with 2:20 left in the first half, but the Trojans whittled away at the lead until coming within 50-48 with 2:45 left in the game.
Dan Leach scored for Jennings to push the lead to four, then after a Chatard free throw; Caleb Eder hit a basket and free throw, and Leach converted a one-and-one to put it away.
Tommy Taylor came off the bench to lead the Panthers with 16 points and seven rebounds. Leach added 14 points.
Jennings led Mt. Lebanon 29-23 at halftime and 43-42 after three quarters but missed seven free throws in the fourth quarter. Bryson Mills led the Panthers with 15 points, while Bailey Sanders scored 11 and Brad Hunt added 10.
“In the game this morning, we missed some shots,” Jennings interim coach Joe Hartwell said. “We shot a lot of outside shots and missed a lot of them in the second half. This time, we tried to go inside. Those shots are higher-percentage shots, and we thought our size could be a big advantage, and it was.”
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