Finding the Energy / Strong second half lifts Bull Dogs to conference victory

The Columbus North boys basketball team started on a positive note for the year 2021.

The Bull Dogs came out with a lot more energy in the second half, and it helped lift them to a 73-54 victory over Conference Indiana foe Terre Haute South on Saturday afternoon.

North (5-2, 1-0) missed its first several shots from the field, and the Braves (4-6, 0-1) took advantage to jump out to a 6-0 lead with 4:53 left in the first quarter that led to a Bull Dog time-out to regroup. Following the time-out, it took less than two minutes for North to go on a 7-0 to take its first lead of the game at 7-6. The Bull Dogs went on to take an 11-10 lead after one quarter.

North possessed an 18-16 lead midway through the second quarter, but then the Bull Dogs forced some turnovers that led to transition baskets to grow the lead to 28-18. However, right at the end of the first half, Amari Richardson drained a deep 3-pointer to keep Terre Haute South within distance at 28-21 at the break.

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“We turned it up a little bit and started getting to the basket, trying to get different looks rather than just wide open 3-point shots,” North senior Reese Harmon said. “I just thought our intensity picked up a little bit, and we brought our own energy.”

The Bull Dogs picked up the tempo and went on a 6-0 run to start the third quarter to balloon the lead to 35-21. They finished out the third on a 10-2 run to lead 49-31 heading into the fourth and would eventually seal the win.

“In the first half, I’m not going to say it was good or bad, but we had some problem with ball movement and shots weren’t going into the hoop,” North senior Diing Diing said. “We kept talking to each other more and kept motivating each other more to keep shooting. Coach (Paul Ferguson) gave us some words at the half, and I think we came back with more energy.”

Blake Barker finished with a game-high 20 points, Harmon scored 18, and Jakub Trusina added 10 to lead the Bull Dog scoring. Nine North players altogether put up points on the scoreboard.

“We love to see those guys get in double figures, and then picked up some points from Diing with six, Cooper (Horn) with seven, Max (Wilson) with four,” Ferguson said. “Balanced scoring is big for us. I felt like we didn’t have enough of that against Lawrence Central. We worked on it this week and was pleased to see the guys get to that spot tonight.”

Next up for North is its crosstown showdown with Columbus East at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The game was originally scheduled for Dec. 18, but was postponed due to both teams being in quarantine at the time.

“We’re going to have to come out and play our game,” Harmon said. “They’ve lost a couple to start out, but they’re starting to play well now. They’re scoring a lot more. I’m excited. I have a couple friends on that team, too, so I’ll be fun to play them and see how they’re doing.”