Bull Dogs top Falcons for fifth consecutive win

INDIANAPOLIS — Columbus North sophomore point guard Reese Harmon is finding his confidence over the past few basketball games.

Harmon scored a season-high 18 points, hitting six 3-pointers, to lead the Bull Dogs to a 42-35 boys basketball victory at Perry Meridian Wednesday night. It was the fifth consecutive victory for North (11-4).

“I’ve been staying after practice and putting up the extra shots, as well,” Harmon said. “Our team was finding the open man. If it wasn’t me, it would have been Nick (Schiavello), Trenton (Kelley) or Blake (Barker).”

The Bull Dogs (11-4) had to be patient to come out with a victory.

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“Perry likes to slow it down. They try to minimize the amount of possessions that you can have in a game,” North coach Paul Ferguson said. “We had to be very disciplined. We had to very opportunistic offensively and defensively. Overall, I thought we did a pretty good job of that.”

The Bull Dogs led 33-25 after three quarters and chose to slow it down on their end in the fourth.

“We knew that with an eight-point lead, it’s hard for them to come back from that,” Ferguson said. “We just tried to be intentional, take good shots and take care of the ball.”

With less than four minutes to go, the Falcons’ Jayden Taylor, who had a team-high 14 points, sank a 3-pointer to trim the lead to 36-31. Barker hit a 3-pointer to put the Bull Dogs up 39-31. Taylor then hit two free throws to close the deficit to 39-33 with 50.8 seconds left.

However, North was able to run some clock, and Perry Meridian still need to foul three times to put the Bull Dogs on the free-throw line.

The Falcons’ record dropped to 6-8 in the first year under Mark James, who has won 565 games in 37 years as a high school coach. James guided Ben Davis to a Class 4A state title in 2017.

North scored the game’s first five points and led the entire way.

Harmon sank his third 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer to give the Bull Dogs a 16-10 lead. They settled for a 22-19 halftime advantage.

“Moving through the zone was my best part of the game until they switched to man (defense),” Harmon said.

Harmon hit three more 3-pointers in the third quarter.

“They gave (Harmon) some open 3s, and he knocked ‘em down,” Ferguson said.

Schiavello scored nine points, and Barker added eight for North. The Bull Dogs committed eight turnovers, compared to 10 for Perry Meridian.

“We’ve played well lately,” Ferguson said. “What we took from tonight is, you have to be able to play against different styles. Perry played a deliberate style, and we had to be disciplined to come out with a victory. We didn’t turn the ball over (much). We made a couple mistakes out there that when you only have a couple possessions feel more costly. Overall, I was pleased with our effort and felt our guys executed our game plan well.”