Columbus girls ice cold against Norfolk
Columbus High girls basketball endured one of the most out-of-whack good news/bad news scenarios against longtime rival Norfolk on Friday at home.
The good news? The Discoverers only allowed 33 points. The bad news? They only scored 18.
In the lowest offensive output of the season, CHS failed to score at all in the first quarter but remained in the contest thanks to a defensive effort that also limited NHS to its lowest total through four games.
Yet, during a shooting night of 5 for 38, it wasn’t quite enough to counter the ice-cold deep freeze Columbus suffered through on the other end of the court.
The opponent’s total is the lowest since Columbus beat Lexington last season 40-23. It’s also CHS’ lowest final score since a 45-17 loss to Hastings in 2017.
Columbus, which broke a losing streak to Norfolk last year that had extended back five years has now lost nine of the last 10 in the series.
The loss dropped the Discoverers to 0-6 while the Panthers put their first notch in the win column at 1-3.
“We’ll take 33 points any time. And really, we had a couple defensive breakdowns where you figure they score even less. We played match-up zone in the first quarter then went to man-to-man the rest of the game, and I thought the girls did a really nice job. Again, I thought most of our shots outside of a few, were good looks. They just didn’t go in,” coach Dave Licari said.
“Out of 38 shots, we had 36 pretty good looks at the basket.”
The first quarter saw Columbus start 0 for 9 and 0 for 4 from 3-point range. Norfolk wasn’t much better at 3 for 10, but the Panthers began to find some semblance of a rhythm midway through with two buckets, a putback and a make at the free throw line.
Jaleigh Adams-Tuls finally broke the Discoverer drought early in the second with an offensive rebound and a score. She added another basket in the paint on the next possession.
It wasn’t enough to keep up with a Norfolk squad that carried over late momentum from the first. That momentum was most noticeable from 3 where the Panthers went 3 for 7 in the quarter and opened up a 17-9 halftime lead.
Norfolk opened the second half with another make from the free throw line, Aspen Luebbe answered with the first Columbus make from beyond the arc, and scored again later after drawing a foul on an offensive rebound, but those five points were the only CHS points of the quarter.
The Discoverers trailed 25-14 heading into the fourth and managed just one more hoop on a 17 footer from Tayler Braun in the right corner.
Columbus finished 5 for 38 from the floor and 1 for 19 from distance.
“To me, they should be (shooting with confidence),” Licari said. “The way we shoot in practices in shooting drills and live action, I would think they’d have confidence.
“The girls taking the shots, I don’t think they’re taking the shots hoping they go in. They’re taking them believing they’ll go in.”
Thus, despite half the attempts coming from 3-point range, Licari is OK with the shot selection, even if practice makes haven’t yet translated into game success.
“I don’t mind the number of 3s we took. If we’re wide open on a 3, fine. The only thing there is, when we have a girl posted up and we’re looking right at her, we’ve got to get that ball inside,” Licari said. “If you’re on the wing and you can see her jersey, you’ve got to get it in there.
“Even if we don’t shoot it, they’re going to cover down and we’ll be able to kick it out for an even better look in rhythm.”
Aspen Luebbe led Columbus with eight points while Adams-Tuls had 5.
“Honestly, I don’t know if it’s becoming better shooters. We are better shooters,” Licari said. “If you look at our statistics from last year, some of our girls who aren’t shooting it, have shot it better before.
“I don’t know if it’s becoming a better shooter, I think it’s just, see a couple go down.”
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor for the Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org