For the better part of Saturday night’s first half, Hauser was frustrating a Columbus North team that had put on a prolific offensive display in Tuesday night’s season-opening win against Heritage Christian.
In the second half, the Bull Dogs’ full-court press began taking effect, and they began turning turnovers into baskets. As a result, North pulled away for a 73-46 victory.
“We just had to play with better poise,” North coach Paul Ferguson said. “We turned the ball over a few times, and we just weren’t shooting the ball well. Those things are going to happen, and we just told the guys we just need to play with better poise in the second half, and I thought we came out in the third quarter and clearly established the way we wanted to play. I was proud of our guys for the way we handled a little adversity and had a strong second half.”
The Jets (1-1) led 20-16 midway through the second quarter behind 12 points from 6-foot-5 center Trey Johnson. The Bull Dogs (2-0) then went on a 7-0 run to take a 23-20 lead. Hauser’s Frankie Poole converted a one-and-one to cut the lead to one, but North got a putback at the buzzer from Nick Schiavello to take a 25-22 halftime lead.
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“We just struggled early on,” Schiavello said. “We needed to come out and play harder and get our hands on some passes and have our pressure get to them a little bit. We were flat early on, and we had to play harder in the second half and force some turnovers and get some easy buckets.”
The Bull Dogs did that in the second half. The Jets were within 30-26 midway through the quarter when North went on a 13-0 run to take control.
Hauser, after committing eight turnovers in the first quarter, had nine in the third quarter and 15 in the second half. Most of those came while point guard Landon Asher was on the bench with four fouls.
“For two quarters, we executed our game plan about as well as I possibly expected us to be able to do,” Hauser coach Joe Sibbitt said. “In the first half, for the most part when they missed, we were able to rebound it, and they didn’t get a lot of second-chance opportunities. The second half, the turnovers were coming, and also, a missed shot became their best play. They were getting three or four chances at it, and part of it was, we got tired.”
The Jets got back to within 47-35 going into the fourth quarter, but could come no closer.
“We got off to a slow start tonight,” Schiavello said. “We had to kind of claw back. We didn’t shoot it well tonight, but these are the kind of games we have to figure out different ways to win when we’re not shooting well. We did a good job the second half of building up a lead and playing together and getting a big win.”
Johnson finished with 20 points and six rebounds to lead Hauser. Jackson Paradise added eight points.
“For 2 1/2 quarters, I’m very happy,” Sibbitt said. “We don’t take moral victories, so we’re not happy with the loss. We’ll sulk about this one for about the nine miles it takes to get back to Hauser, and then when we get off the bus, this game will be forgot about because in this game, good or bad, I think you have to have a short memory.”
Schiavello scored 20 points, and Blake Barker added 13 points and eight rebounds to lead the Bull Dogs. Reese Harmon scored 10 points, while Cooper Horn added nine and Casper Clark had eight.
“Columbus North has all the pieces you need to have a very good basketball team,” Sibbitt said. “They’re strong, they’re quick, they’re unselfish and I look forward from a distance to see how they’re going to do against the people that they really have to beat to win something.”