Boys Varsity Basketball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- Jan 5, 2021
- OLYMPIANS: 49
COLUMBUS NORTH HS: 58
Columbus North's Reese Harmon talks with Columbus East's Tyler Boyer after the Bull Dogs defeated the Olympians 58-49 at Columbus North, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. Paige Grider for The Republic
That was what Columbus North boys basketball coach Paul Ferguson said during the third quarter of Tuesday night’s game with crosstown rival Columbus East in order to refocus his team.
Following the timeout, the Bull Dogs finally put the pieces together.
1 of 15
After a rather rough start through much of the first half, North used an 8-0 run in the third quarter to help push its four-point lead to double digits. That cushion was all the Bull Dogs needed to come away with a 58-49 victory.
“I just had to get after them in that timeout. We were a little sluggish,” Ferguson said. “We were passive. The lack of energy in the gym was unusual, and we just had to get them going.”
The victory was not easy, however. The Olympians (1-6) made their presence felt late, but the key for North (6-2) was rebounding and free-throw shooting late in the fourth. The Bull Dogs outrebounded East 40-15 and converted 16 of 17 free throws in the final two minutes to seal the win.
Blake Barker finished with 23 points and 17 rebounds, and Reese Harmon added 18 points and eight rebounds for the Bull Dogs.
“That was big for us because we’ve hovering around 70-percent free throw shooting on the year,” Ferguson said. “Blake, Reese, Cooper (Horn) — they all stepped up and made big free throws down the stretch. You can play poorly and win a game if you shoot your free throws well.”
The annual crosstown game was unlike any other in previous years. The COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on this year’s game. It had to be postponed from its Dec. 18 original date due to both teams being in quarantine. There also was limited fan attendance at the game with no packed stands, and no student section cheering from either school.
“In previous games, every shot that went in, there was a loud cheer, almost like a loud bang in the gym,” Barker said. “A lot of your energy had to come from yourself or from your teammates or from the bench. I’ve seen it in college basketball, as well. Energy just had to be built up by your team now, which is a lot different.”
North led 21-17 when Ferguson elected to take the timeout in the third quarter. The Bull Dogs extended their lead to 29-17. Late in the fourth quarter, the Olympians got it as close to 47-42, but the free-throw shooting of the North prevented the comeback.
“We were just playing sloppy. We weren’t being aggressive and getting to the basket,” Harmon said. “We just came out (of the timeout) and took a breath. We just reset ourselves and were looking to drive and finish at the rim. Sometimes the rival game will get you going mentally, so you just have to redial and focus.”
There is the potential of an encore presentation in the sectional in March.
“I think the big thing for us, and the key in tonight’s game was offensive rebounds,” East senior Daniel Murphy said. “We let them have too offensive rebounds, and we weren’t as aggressive, and I think that made the difference in the game.”
Daniel Murphy led the Olympians with 14 points and five rebounds. Jacob Pierce added 11 points.
“It’s just a learning process,” Chitty said. “Tonight, we learned a lot about ourselves. You just have to go compete every night. I thought our kids competed. We’ll have to work on that rebounding. Rebounding kind of killed us tonight.”