NOBLESVILLE — It wasn’t a picture perfect game for the Columbus North basketball team, but the defense was a beauty for Coach Paul Ferguson.
“It was a tremendous defensive effort for us,” Ferguson said. “I thought the defense in the first half was the best we played all season. New Albany is really good team and it’s hard to come off the Christmas break and play a team of its caliber. I thought our defensive awareness and energy was tremendous.”
The Bull Dogs grabbed control in the second quarter and never let up en route to 48-30 romp over New Albany Friday in the first round of the Noblesville Holiday Tournament. The Bulldogs (7-1) will face Noblesville (4-5) at 12:45 p.m. today in the semifinals. Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian and Northridge meet in the first semifinal at 11 a.m. If North wins, it will play at 7:45 p.m. in the championship. The third place game is set for 6 p.m.
Leading 15-12, the Bull Dogs (7-1) scored 12 unanswered points to take a 27-12 lead in the second quarter. North led 29-14 at halftime.
Ferguson was pleased his team was able to limit two of New Albany’s top scorers, holding Tucker Biven to five points and Kaden Stanton to one point. Trey Hourigan was high for New Albany with 15 points.
“Any time you lock down a team’s two leading scorers, that put us in a really good position,” Ferguson said.
North junior Blake Barker said defense was the difference.
“We emphasized defense throughout the week because they have some good offensive players,” said Barker, who had a team-high 13 points. “It was just a good team effort.”
North committed just nine turnovers with three of them coming later in the fourth quarter. In contrast, New Albany (4-3) committed 16 turnovers.
“We were pretty ball tough and able to handle the ball whenever it counted,” Barker said. “We just knew if it turned the ball over, it would probably end up in buckets (for New Albany). We knew we had to be strong with the ball. We didn’t shoot the ball as well as we wanted to, but we got to our spots. We still shot the ball with confidence.”
Barker was the only North player in double figures. Casper Clark was next with eight points and Nicholas Schiavello with seven points.
“We love to get three guys in double figures,” Ferguson said. “We didn’t have that tonight. We had guys with eight, seven and six (points). We had good balance and we shared the ball.”
North had three 3-pointers, two by Barker and one by Schiavello.
“Normally we have more 3s than that, it wasn’t one of our best nights offensively,” Ferguson said. “But we’ll clean that up for tomorrow.”
Noblesville advanced by beating Crown Point 48-43 in the first round.
“The first thing that sticks out to me is I think they are a really good defensive team,” Ferguson said of the Millers. “I like the intensity they play with and they communicate well. They seem to take a lot of 3s, I didn’t see too many go down, but I wasn’t keeping stats. It’s probably one of those teams if their shots are going down, if not they struggle a little bit.”