Three days and 32 games later, and Columbus North once again stood at the top of the Bob Wettig Tournament.
The Bull Dogs’ 81-60 victory over host Richmond closed the seventh annual edition of the event at Tiernan Center. Richmond athletic director Chad Bolser said prior to the start of the final he wasn’t quite sure when the eighth Wettig would take place, but he had two sets of dates in mind.
“It will either be (December) 29th, 30th and 31st, or (January) first, second and third,” Bolser said of next season’s tournament.
This year’s tournament featured perhaps the strongest final four — four ranked teams in Class 4A.
No. 10 Columbus upended No. 9 Fort Wayne North, while No. 7 Richmond down 16th-ranked Jeffersonville.
Fort Wayne North went on to finish third.
“I know that there are going to be places that have great events, but they’re not going to get much better than this,” Bolser said of the final four.
More tournament basketball is coming to Tiernan Center later this year. The site will again host semistate games for both the girls and boys state tournaments. The girls semistate is March 1 and the boys semistate is March 22.
This was the fourth year for the Wettig’s current 16-team format. The first two tournaments featured four teams, while the 2009 edition expanded to eight.
Hamilton Heights won the first 16-team Wettig title in 2010. Since then, Columbus North has rattled off 12 straight wins on the Tiernan Center floor.
“We did what we intended to do, which was have a quality tournament with quality basketball teams, good games,” Bolser said. “I think it’s been good for fans. We tried to set something up so coaches get a great feel about their basketball team moving forward. I think that’s what happens here.”
Portage repeated as the consolation champion after stopping Connersville for a second straight year. Jennings County won the fifth-place game and Bedford North Lawrence finished seventh.
“It’s good playing different types of competition,” said Portage coach Rick Snodgrass.
Columbus North junior Josh Speidel was named tournament MVP, an honor he also achieved as a freshman in 2011.
All-tournament selections also included Columbus North’s 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.
Columbus North coach Jason Speer was impressed with how his big men, Speidel (6-foot-8) and Welmer (6-9), played in the tournament.
“What can you say about Josh and Elliott? They are just putting on shows every night,” Speer said. “I’m just very, very happy with them.”
For Richmond, the Red Devils were making their first appearance in a Wettig final since winning the tournament in 2009.
RHS finished third in both 2011 and 2012.
“I like it (the Wettig),” said RHS senior Abdul Shabazz. “It kind of has an NCAA feel to it as a tournament. People want the championship.”