Winning the Bob Wettig Memorial Tournament has become a habit for Columbus North.
The Bull Dogs captured their latest crown in impressive fashion, knocking off a pair of ranked unbeatens en route to a third straight tournament title.
No. 10 Columbus North stopped host Richmond in Saturday’s finale at Tiernan Center, ending the three-day, 32-game event with an 81-60 victory over the seventh-ranked Red Devils.
The Bull Dogs also defeated No. 9 Fort Wayne North 59-54 in Saturday’s first semifinal. RHS handed No. 16 Jeffersonville a 63-45 loss in the other semifinal.
“Hat’s off to them. They did a great job,” RHS coach Joe Luce said of the Bull Dogs. “We got outcoached tonight. We got outplayed. Their best players took it to another level.”
That included tournament MVP Josh Speidel. The junior, who was also Wettig MVP in 2011, scored 24 points and had 12 rebounds in the final.
Joining Speidel for all-tournament honors were teammates Elliott Welmer and Trent Larson, along with Richmond’s Mike Tillman and Davious Webster, Norwell’s David Vogel and Drew Shively, Jennings County’s Brad Hunt, Fort Wayne North’s Tre’Vion Crews and Mike Davis and Floyd Central’s Myles Ervin.
Larson scored 21 against Richmond and Welmer had 14.
“It’s really unbelievable at this point to win any 16-team tournament three times in a row,” said Columbus North coach Jason Speer. “I just thought we played extremely team-orientated basketball.”
That was evident in the first half.
The Bull Dog defense was stingy from the opening tip-off. Evan Henry, the 2012 Wettig MVP, kept a close watch on Richmond leading scorer Tillman.
Tillman, who hit 16 3-pointers through his first three Wettig games, had four points in the first half, and attempted just one 3-pointer in that time — with Henry nearby.
Tillman finished with 16 points and hit two 3-pointers for a tournament record 18.
“They’re going to take Mike out of the game, which is fine. We have one (a team) with depth, and I don’t think that depth showed up,” Luce said.
Speidel scored 11 of his points in the first half, and helped Columbus North keep an edge in rebounding. Speidel wasn’t the only Bull Dog effective offensively. Larson netted 12 first-half points as Columbus North carried a 38-26 advantage into the break.
That lead stood at 61-37 after three quarters. Richmond had spurts, including a stretch where Isaiah Rader made back-to-back steals and layups, but Columbus North kept the Red Devils from making it too close.
Joel Okafor fueled Richmond’s offense in the first half. He scored 15 points in the first two quarters, and spent much of the half driving to the basket against the Bull Dogs’ post presence of the 6-foot-8 Speidel and the 6-9 Welmer.
Okafor finished with a team-high 21 points, but fouled out in the fourth quarter, as did fellow starter Abdul Shabazz. Webster and Rader each had six points for RHS.
“We are physically a very good team. Mentally we have some work to do,” Luce said. “Coaching-wise, we have to give them some help on some stuff that I guess we take for granted. I don’t think we did a very good job of putting guys in good spots.”
Richmond (8-1) returns to action Jan. 11 at Jay County.
Columbus North improved to 9-2. The Bull Dogs are 12-0 at Tiernan Center in their three tournament appearances.
“Our perimeter guys took the ball to the rim. They made open shots,” Speer said.