Lighting It Up / Bull Dogs roll to easy season-opening win

Columbus North established high hopes for a big boys basketball season after going 35-2 over the summer.

In Tuesday night’s season opener, the Bull Dogs showed a large crowd what kind of a team they might become. They were dominant at both ends of the floor in a 79-45 win against Heritage Christian.

"I think what allowed us to win by 34 was just our unselfish play," said junior Blake Barker, who lscored a game-high 27 points. "We really played well together. We were really smooth and fluid together, and we really moved the ball. We had a lot of guys who would make the extra pass."

While Barker picked up where he left off last year, freshman Cooper Horn made a solid high school debut. Horn scored 13 points in a little more than two quarters of action.

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"The upperclassmen have made it real easy for me to fit in as a freshman," Horn said. "They really help my confidence. They’re just great teammates all-around."

North jumped out to a 14-4 lead after one quarter. Then to open the second quarter, Horn scored his first high school points on a 3-pointer when his attempted alley-oop pass to Barker was off the mark and banked into the basket.

The Bull Dogs build the lead to 42-22 at halftime.

"It starts on the defensive end, getting transition buckets," Horn said. "That’s the easiest kind of buckets right there."

North continued its run into the third quarter, piling up a 62-33 lead going to the fourth. Coach Paul Ferguson emptied his bench in the final period.

The Bull Dogs committed only two turnovers the first 2 1/2 quarters and eight for the game.

"We preach ball toughness to these guys," Ferguson said. "I thought we took care of the basketball really well, and I thought our defensive intensity forced them into some difficult spots and some turnovers, and then we created some offense out of our defense."

Nick Schiavello scored 10 points, and Jakub Trusina added eight for North.

"It feels good to score that much," Ferguson said. "We shared the ball. We shot it well. I felt like we took good shots and had a good flow going offensively."

Barker and Will King each grabbed five rebounds. All nine players who played in the first three quarters for the Bull Dogs got into the scoring column, and all 11 players grabbed at least one rebound.

"We think we have a lot of guys that can contribute offensively and defensively, so sharing the ball, taking good open shots and getting a couple scorers in double figures is an emphasis each game," Ferguson said.