Bull Dogs produce huge summer

If Columbus North was planning to try to fly under the radar heading into the 2019-20 boys basketball season, the Bull Dogs might have a hard time doing that now.

The Bull Dogs went 35-2 during the month of June when coaches are permitted to work with their teams in practice and game settings. They won the Super Hoops Tournament at Indiana Wesleyan and captured the Shelbyville Summer League, avenging one of their two losses in the title game.

“I think we had a very productive summer,” North coach Paul Ferguson said. “We played a lot of games. I felt like a number of our players took a step forward, and as a coaching staff, we got a good feel for our strengths and weaknesses. It definitely gave us a lot of confidence.”

The Bull Dogs began the summer by going 2-0 at IBCA Shootout at Ben Davis, beating Franklin Central and Evansville Reitz. North then went 5-1 to finish second in Hoop Mountain Shootout in Chicago, falling to Rock Island (Illinois) on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the championship game.

At the Super Hoops, the Bull Dogs went 10-0 to claim the title. They closed the summer by going 4-0 in the Charlie Hughes Classic in the Indianapolis area, beating Zionsville, Plainfield, Bedford North Lawrence and University.

On weeknights inbetween those weekend tournaments, North went 6-0 in the Conference Indiana Summer League although Bloomington South was the only other actual conference team to play in that league. The Bull Dogs also went 5-1 in the Shelbyville Summer League on Monday nights, dropping their opener to New Palestine on a buzzer beater, but came back to go 3-0 in the playoffs, beating the Dragons in the title game.

“We improved as a team,” Ferguson said. “We found out a lot of our strengths and weaknesses. It’s a very fun team to coach. I’m sad (the summer season) ended.”

North’s top two scorers this winter, incoming junior Blake Barker and incoming senior Nick Schiavello, missed part of the Super Hoops Tournament while they were at the IBCA Top 100 Underclass Showcase in Indianapolis. The other returning starter, incoming junior Reese Harmon played in the weeknight games, but missed the shooutouts while playing baseball on the weekends.

Incoming junior Jakub Trusina and incoming seniors Cam Wischmeyer and Will King started most of the games this summer, while incoming junior Max Wilson and incoming freshman Cooper Horn came off the bench. Incoming juniors Brayden Taylor and Trevor Wright and incoming sophomore Sam King played a little on the weekends.

“Going into this summer, losing two starters in Patrick (McKinley) and Trenton (Kelley), and three other seniors, our veteran guys stepped up, and the biggest thing is the way some of our JV players from last year stepped into their roles,” Ferguson said. “They surpassed what I was looking for.”

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This is the last of six stories this week on how the summer basketball seasons went for Bartholomew County schools.

Monday: Hauser girls

Tuesday: Columbus East girls

Wednesday: Columbus North girls

Thursday: Hauser boys

Friday: Columbus East boys

Today: Columbus North boys