Fresh off a couple of big comebacks in two of its previous three games, Columbus North was in position to pull out another major come-from-behind win on Saturday night.
Unfortunately for the Bull Dogs, they couldn’t hang on this time. Fishers’ Willie Jackson converted a three-point play with 5.9 seconds remaining to give the Tigers a 60-57 boys basketball victory.
North, which came from nine points down in the final 1:25 to beat Shelbyville in overtime last week, came from 18 down in the third quarter to knock off Franklin Central on Friday night. Saturday, the Bull Dogs rallied from an 11-point first half deficit to take the lead, but couldn’t hang on.
Tied 57-57, North had the ball with about a minute-and-a-half to play and were holding for the last shot. But Fishers forced a turnover and held in until Alex Szilagyi drove the baseline and found Jackson.
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The Bull Dogs got the ball to Reese Harmon, but his contested 3-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.
“I felt like we were ready to play,” North coach Paul Ferguson said. “We were hungry to play Fishers. We know they’re a good team. I thought we had a great scouting report, and we executed really well. They hit one more 3 than we did, and that was the difference.”
The Tigers (3-3) used a 12-0 run to take a 28-17 lead with three minutes left in the first half. The Bull Dogs (4-2) then scored the final eight points of the second quarter and the first two of the third period to cut the lead to one.
Fishers led 34-31 when Harmon and Blake Barker combined to lead North on a 10-1 run that gave the Bull Dogs their biggest lead at 41-34 with 3:10 left in the third quarter. The Tigers came back to take a 54-48 lead with five minutes left in the game, but North came back again to lead 55-54 on a basket by Nick Schiavello with 2:40 remaining.
A 3-pointer by Terry Hicks gave Fishers the lead back before Schiavello scored to tie the game at 57-57 with 2:05 left, setting up the finish.
“It was a great game to be a part of, a lot of lead changes, back and forth,” Ferguson said. “I thought when they went up six or seven there, we took a timeout, got resettled, fought back and took the lead again. We showed a lot of toughness. Unfortunately, just a couple bounces just didn’t go our way at the end of the game.”
Schiavello finished with 23 points and seven rebounds to lead the Bull Dogs. Barker scored 14 points, and Harmon added 12.
Josiah Matthews scored 15 points to lead four Tigers in double figures.
“Fishers is a very hard team to match up against,” Ferguson said. “Their post players are big and strong, their guards are quick and aggressive, they have a couple shooters. They can hurt you in a lot of ways, so overall, I was very pleased with our defense. We’ll only get better from this game. It was a good challenge for us.”