Owls fall to Bull Dogs

Looking to win a season-high fourth straight game, the Columbus North girls basketball team wouldn’t be denied Tuesday.

Following a close-scoring first half, the Bull Dogs outscored Seymour 42-26 after intermission to come away with a 75-53 road win.

Turnovers played a large role in the game, as the Owls finished with a season-high 34 to the Bull Dogs’ 16 giveaways.

The Bull Dogs got off to a quick start through amassing a 6-0, courtesy of five Owls turnovers, led at the 5:24 mark off baskets from Maliah Howard-Bass, Paige Littrell and Elle Williams.

The Owls propelled their offense after Morgan Ritz hit a 3-pointer to narrow the gap to 4-6 with 3:21 on the clock.

In the first quarter, the Bull Dogs had seven fouls to the Owls’ two.

Both teams stood locked at 10-10 after eight minutes of play.

Following a 3-pointer from Owls junior Maci Lubker, to give her team the first lead of the game at 15-14, the Bull Dogs went on a 9-0 run from the 6:01 to 4:33 mark.

Ritz ended the Bull Dogs run with another 3-pointer, and the Owls then went on a 8-0 run to tie the game at 23-23.

The Owls trailed the Bull Dogs 33-27 at the half.

“In the first half, I thought we couldn’t have asked for a better defensive effort,” Owls coach Jason Longmeier said. “In the second half, I thought our half-court offense wasn’t that bad. It was the transition where they caused so many problems with us.”

While Notre Dame commit Ali Patberg didn’t score in the first quarter, she found her stride in the second, netting 11 of her game-high 25 total points.

Turnovers continued to plague the Owls in the second half, but this time the Bull Dogs capitalized.

“Early on, the turnovers didn’t hurt us because they weren’t leading to transition points,” Longmeier said. “In the second half, when they pulled away, we were still turning the ball over at a heavy clip. Those were leading to layups. We did that too often in the second half.”

The Bull Dogs went on a 12-2 run to close the third quarter, and led 54-41 heading into the last quarter.

“We needed to be more aggressive going to the rim, and move our feet on defense,” Howard-Bass said. “We were just rushing it in the first half, once we started playing our game, we got into a rhythm.”

It was an offensive struggle for the Owls the rest of the way. They made some free throws, but didn’t score a field goal until Mazie Caudill hit a trey with 1:39 on the clock.

“Coming out of half time, coach said we needed more energy. So we pushed the ball, got up and down, and dug-in on defense,” Patberg said. “We also needed to stop reaching, we were fouling early and that was a big key.”

The Bull Dogs (7-1) will travel to Columbus East on Friday.

“That team’s going to beat a lot of people,” Longmeier said, adding the Bull Dogs have faced some of the state’s tough competition and played close, citing their overtime loss to Lawrence North earlier in the season.

The Owls (7-2) will host Whiteland in an early afternoon game Saturday.

Jordan Morey is sports editor at The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at jmorey@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.