For the Daily Journal
Columbus North used some sharp 3-point shooting by Alex King, stifling defense and control of the boards to pick up a 46-38 victory against host Whiteland on Saturday night.
King, the Bull Dogs’ 6-8 forward, hit on four 3s and scored 28 points overall to lead all scorers.
“Both teams played the same style,” said Whiteland coach Matt Wadsworth. “But we let (Columbus North) get into their flow.”
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Adding to Whiteland’s misery was a dearth of scoring, unusual for a team that had been averaging 60 points a game.
There’s some blame to pass around on that.
North’s defense was a big factor, but Whiteland can look in the mirror, too, as the Warriors didn’t take care of the ball at times — particularly in the second and third quarters.
Whiteland could muster only a field goal and four points in the second quarter. Fortunately for the Warriors, the Bull Dogs scored just eight. Hurting the Warriors was two starters, Elijah Weatherspoon and 6-7 senior Michael Valle, being limited by foul trouble.
Weatherspoon picked up his second and third fouls within 20 seconds of each other. Thirty seconds later, Valle got his second.
North had a 13-point lead at one point in the third quarter and threatened to blow it open, but the Warriors were able to close the gap to four with 4:12 left in the game.
That was as close as the Warriors could get, though, as North had enough poise to hold on down the stretch.
“Alex did a tremendous job of mixing up his game,” Columbus North coach Paul Ferguson said. “He got to the rim and had an outstanding performance shooting the 3s and with defense.”
The Bull Dogs outrebounded Whiteland, 27-16, and limited the Warriors to four offensive boards.
North improved to 10-6, while the Warriors fell to 10-4.
Leading Whiteland was senior Michael Valle with 13 points.
“We needed to do a better job on King,” Wadsworth said. “We also didn’t do a good of getting our shooters open and that’s something I have to look at.”
Whiteland has had to make adjustments since the dismissal of junior point guard Riley Higdon.
“I’m proud of the effort the guys gave,” Wadsworth said. “I felt we got better in practice this week and we gave a good effort (tonight).”
Up next for Whiteland is a visit to Indian Creek on Thursday, a rematch of a closely contested semifinal game during the Johnson County tournament earlier this month.