Give another Wettig Tournament title to the Bull Dogs.
Columbus North earned it, too, turning back a tough Jeffersonville squad 61-55 to win a second straight championship at Tiernan Center.
Tournament MVP Evan Henry poured in 18 points in the championship as the Bull Dogs were able to overcome a 24-point performance by Jeffersonville standout Darryl Baker.
“It definitely builds up our confidence,” Henry said.
Columbus North used a big third-quarter run to rally past the Red Devils.
Down 37-30 at halftime, the Bull Dogs held Jeffersonville to six third-quarter points.
Columbus North also knocked off Richmond 67-48 in a semifinal earlier in the day.
“Those are very tradition-orientated programs,” Columbus North coach Jason Speer said of Richmond and Jeffersonville. “For us, an upstart really, with a lot of kids that have worked extremely hard, it’s just been really, really nice to be able to play those sorts of teams and have some success.”
Josh Speidel, last year’s tournament MVP, scored 17 points in the final for the Bull Dogs, while Tori Jackson netted 10.
Speidel joined Henry on the all-tournament team, along with Jordan Simpson (Portage), Tyler Roth (Mt. Lebanon), Mike Crawford (Tipton), Aaron Brennan (Guerin Catholic), Joel Okafor (Richmond), Charles Hampton (Richmond), Baker and Drew Ellis (Jeffersonville).
“All of that offseason training, we knew we couldn’t let this one slip by,” Henry said.
“It (the tournament) is very helpful. … We get to play against good competition. It makes us a better team and players.”
Columbus North (9-1) won the 2011 Wettig Tournament with a 54-49 victory over Guerin Catholic. Guerin fell in this year’s third-place game to Richmond.
“I never would have dreamed the first year that we came that we would have won it,” Speer said. “Then to come back and repeat with the good talent pool is just a testament to the kids. They played hard for three straight days.”
Columbus North’s victory capped 32 games in three days at Tiernan Center and Earlham College’s Athletics and Wellness Center. This was the third time in its six years that the Wettig has followed that format.
“This is a regional-type atmosphere in terms of quality of teams and it wouldn’t surprise me to see one of these teams back here in March,” said RHS athletic director Chad Bolser.
Tiernan Center will host semistate tournament games in both girls and boys basketball this season.
This year’s Wettig Tournament ran smoothly, despite challenges from the weather. The Wednesday snowfall caused a later start time and a need to hold four extra games at the Earlham site, but the Wettig played its full slate of 32 contests.
“Even in a snowstorm, Richmond looked really good,” Bolser said. “The city of Richmond, the school corporation, they just looked so good in this because of the things that they do and they provide.”
NOTES: One year after finishing 0-4 in the Wettig Tournament, Portage rebounded to win the consolation championship with a 3-1 record and a 52-46 victory over Connersville in the consolation final; Tipton, last year’s consolation champion, finished fifth in this year’s edition in thrilling fashion as the Blue Devils rallied to edge Mt. Lebanon (Pa.) 54-53 on a free throw with less than a second remaining by Austin Hooker; In the three years since the Wettig expanded to 16 teams and three days, Guerin Catholic has finished no lower than fourth. The Golden Eagles also have a second and third place to their credit.