4A No. 10 Trojans topple Bull Dogs

Columbus North coach Paul Ferguson yells instructions to his players against Center Grove Thursday in Memorial Gymnasium at Columbus North High School.

Tommy Walker | For The Republic

If Columbus North manages to get through next week’s East Central Sectional, Center Grove very likely could be waiting for the Bull Dogs in the regional.

The Bull Dogs found out just how far they need to go to play with the Trojans when the teams met on Thursday night. The Class 4A No. 10 Trojans had things working at both ends of the floor, especially in the second half, in handing host North a 70-37 defeat.

Joey Schmitz hit five second-half 3-pointers for Center Grove and led all scorers with 15 points. The Trojans hit 12 of 21 3s for the game, including 10 of 14 in the second half.

The Bull Dogs (6-14) were within 13-10 with two minutes left in the first quarter before the Center Grove (17-4) stretched the lead to 26-14 at halftime. After North opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to six, the Trojans went on a 14-0 run, highlighted by a pair of 3s from Schmitz, to break it open.

“I was really pleased with our first half,” North coach Paul Ferguson said. “We went toe to toe with one of the top teams in the state and showed incredible heart and toughness. A few more shots fall in the first half, it could have been a tie game going into halftime. Unfortunately, we ran out of steam in the second half.”

The Bull Dogs limited Center Grove’s 6-foot-10 center Michael Ephriam to six points, but he managed 12 rebounds and seven blocks. The Trojans’ 6-7 Peyton Byrd scored 11 points, and 6-6 Will Spellman had eight points and eight rebounds.

“Their size wore us down,” Ferguson said. “We’re not used to playing against a 6-11 guy in the middle. Although we got to the rim a number of times, he blocked a number of them away, so that was hard to play against.”

Caleb Ferguson led North with 14 points. Nate Enneking added eight points, and Garrett Long grabbed seven rebounds.

“I love the way my team battled tonight,” Paul Ferguson said. “Unfortunately, we let it get away from us at the end, but overall, I was really pleased with the game,” Ferguson said. “We got better tonight as a team, and that’s the key thing at this time of year.”

Center Grove 70, Columbus North 37

Center Grove;15;11;17;27;—;70

Columbus North;10;4;10;13;—;37

Center Grove (17-4): Jalen Bundy 2 0-0 4, Dylan Meador 3 0-0 9, Kellen Thompson 1 0-0 2, Ben Chestnut 4 0-0 9, Grant Long 2 0-0 6, Peyton Byrd 5 0-0 11, Joey Schmitz 5 0-0 15, Michael Ephriam 3 0-0 6, Will Spellman 4 0-0 8. Totals: 29 0-2 70.

Columbus North (6-14): Caleb Ferguson 5 2-2 14, Nate Enneking 3 1-2 8, Gage King 1 0-0 3, Brennan Hester 0 0-0 0, Eli Smith 0 0-0 0, Max Coomes 0 0-0 0, Nolan Pickup 3 0-0 6, Ben Ferguson 0 0-0 0, Drew Schiefer 0 0-0 0, Garrett Long 2 2-2 6. Totals: 15 5-6 37.

3-point goals: Center Grove 12 (Schmitz 5, Meador 3, Long 2, Chestnut, Byrd); Columbus North 4 (C. Ferguson 2, Enneking, King).