NORTH VERNON — It had been more than a decade since Jennings County last defeated Columbus North in boys basketball, and Friday night, that streak came to an end.
The Panthers used second-half 3-point shooting and key free throws late in the fourth quarter to give them their first win over the Bull Dogs since Jan. 8, 2011 with a 61-52 victory.
“Columbus North is a very hard team to play against. They have really good guards. Their zone is tough, and it’s hard to get good looks inside against them,” Jennings coach Josh Land said. “We had some rough spots there, but I was proud of our kids for the mental effort it took to keep fighting and never give up.”
The big turning point came in the third quarter after North (0-2) took the lead at 28-27 following a Cooper Horn 3-point shot. Carter Kent, who was quiet for much of the first half, came alive in the second half to convert his first 3-pointer of the game. He was fouled on the shot attempt and converted the 4-point play. Kent finished with 13 points, with four 3-pointers, all in the second half.
“That was a tough turnaround from there. Kent got loose there on a couple possessions and hit a couple shots. He’s a good shooter, and we knew that going into the game. Outside of that spurt, we did a really good job on him,” North coach Paul Ferguson said. “Jennings has got some guys that can shoot it. Really, our defense was pretty good outside of a few spurts like that.”
Owen Law and Keegan Manowitz helped the Panthers (2-0) jump out to a 9-3 start. The Bull Dogs (0-2) then made a run of their own to cut the lead to 9-8 until a Jennings basket made it 11-8 after the first quarter.
Luke Harmon tied the game with a 3-pointer for North, but then Law drained a 3 to start an 11-2 Panther run to put them ahead 22-13. North turned up the intensity to end the second quarter by finishing on a 7-2 run to cut the deficit to 24-20 at the half.
In the fourth quarter, a Manowitz 3-pointer made it 46-39. The Bull Dogs stayed in the game, but then Jennings converted its free throws late to seal the game.
Manowitz finished with 18 points to lead the Panthers. Law scored 16, and Lane Zohrlaut added 10.
Horn scored a game-high 19 points for the Bull Dogs. Ferguson scored 12, and Harmon added eight.
As a team, Jennings went 17 of 19 from the free-throw line, while North went 10 of 16 from the line.
The Bull Dogs will play their third road game this week with a trip to Seymour tonight to take on the Owls.
“We can’t get to high or too low right now. We had the majority of our players playing a fall sport, so we knew we weren’t quite in basketball shape playing three games this week,” Ferguson said. “There’s a lot of obstacles against us right now, some growing pains from this game, some things we didn’t do very well that our guys are frustrated with, but we haven’t played much basketball yet. A lot of things to improve on and things we’ll get better at by the end of the year.”
Jennings County 61, Columbus North 52
Columbus North (0-2): Luke Harmon 3 0-0 8, Tyler Blythe 1 0-0 3, Damon Edwards 2 0-0 4, Ty Ferguson 4 3-6 12, Cooper Horn 7 4-6 19, Philip McKinley 1 0-0 3, Drew Schiefer 0 3-4 3. Totals: 18 10-16 52.
Jennings County (2-0): Carter Kent 4 1-1 13, Lane Zohrlaut 3 4-4 10, Parker Elmore 0 0-0 0, Owen Law 5 4-4 16, Keegan Manowitz 4 8-10 18, Cole Marksberry 0 0-0 0, Matt Hines 0 0-0 0, Justin Ramey 2 0-0 4. Totals: 18 17-19 61.
3-point goals: Columbus North 6 (Harmon 2, Blythe, Ferguson, Horn, McKinley). Jennings County 8 (Kent 4, Law 2, Manowitz 2).