Second-half run sends Bull Dogs to win in regular-season finale

When Columbus North trailed 18-7 midway through the second quarter of Thursday night’s girls basketball contest against Roncalli, coach Brett White called a timeout.

From that point forward, the Bull Dogs finally got in sync.

North used a 22-0 run following that timeout and allowed only five points in the second half to finish the regular season on a high note with a 36-23 victory.

“We weren’t playing with confidence. We weren’t playing with toughness at all,” North senior Andrea Justis said. “We stepped up. It really was a wakeup call for us. We were like, ‘We’ve got this.’ We came out a lot stronger and smarter and more confident than we had previously.”

It was a tale of two halves for the Bull Dogs (14-8), but defensively, they locked down in the second half and then started hitting their shots offensively to get the push needed to claim the victory in their final home game of the season, potentially. Should the Bull Dogs prevail in next week’s Bloomington North Sectional, they will play at home in the Columbus North Regional.

“We weren’t playing with enough toughness at that point. I thought they were beating us to loose balls and getting second shots. Offensively, I felt like when we attacked the rim, it wasn’t with a bunch of toughness,” White said. “We just talked about (at halftime) that we have to have toughness. We’ve got to take things away from them, and they did respond to that.”

After the Royals (11-12) scored the initial 3-pointer to start the game, Kylah Lawson and Justis converted baskets in the paint to help North retake the lead at 4-3. Roncalli then went on a 7-2 run to finish out the first quarter leading 10-6.

In the second quarter, the Royals hit a couple of 3s during an 8-2 run to grow the lead to double digits at 18-7 that prompted a Bull Dog timeout. The North defense shut out Roncalli the rest of the first half, but offensively, the Bull Dogs couldn’t put together a sufficient run to cut into the deficit more, and they trailed Roncalli 18-11 at the half.

North’s defense led the way in third quarter, allowing zero points in the period. Offensively, the Bull Dogs quickly put up 12 quick points to lead 23-18. The offense stalled a bit for the rest of the quarter, but got a bucket before the quarter ended put them ahead 25-18 heading to the fourth.

In the fourth quarter, North used an 11-2 run to lead 36-20 and eventually seal the win.

For the Bull Dogs, Lawson led the way with a game-high 16 points. Lauren Barker added eight.

North begins sectional play when they take on East Central in the opening round of the Bloomington North Sectional. Tipoff is around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday.