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After 98 wins, Patberg tries to bring Columbus North title

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Ali Patberg has put up some impressive numbers in four seasons at Columbus North High School.

Bull Dogs coach Pat McKee knows one matters more than any other.

After going 98-9 in her career and losing the Class 4A state championship game to North Central in overtime as a freshman, Patberg has made it back. In Saturday night’s finale, she and No. 2 Columbus North (27-1) will finally get another shot — this time against No. 4 Homestead (26-2) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Patberg, a 5-foot-10 guard who has signed with Notre Dame next season, averages 25.7 points, 8.8 assists and 6.1 assists.

“Ali is fabulous,” McKee said.

The two teams have already met once this season. Patberg had 34 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in the Bull Dogs’ 86-75 victory in the Columbus North tournament championship game Dec. 30.

Homestead coach Rod Parker said Patberg is a difficult matchup for any high school team.

“You can’t stop her,” Parker said. “We’re just going to do everything we can to try to slow her down and hope to be able to get stops when we need stops.”

Columbus North shot 58 percent in the first meeting, hitting 11 of 17 from beyond the 3-point line.

“Without question we played our best offensive game of the year against (Homestead),” McKee said “We shot lights out.”

McKee said his team can’t count on shooting like that and pointed out Homestead’s 75 points were the most the Bull Dogs gave up all year.

Sophomore guard Karissa McLaughlin leads the Spartans’ attack with a 23.6 average.

Junior guard Jackie Young, the state’s top scorer at 32.2 points, leads Class 3A No. 4 Princeton (29-1) against No. 9 Tippecanoe Valley (25-2) at 6 p.m. in the 3A final. Tippecanoe Valley has sophomore center Anne Secrest, who averages 17.3 points and 10.6 rebounds.

Young, who has verbally committed to Notre Dame, scored 43 points in a 77-38 rout of Bishop Chatard in the Richmond semi-state, breaking Abby Conklin’s single season scoring record. Conklin had 956 points in 1992-93 with Charlestown. Young had 967 points this season.

“She literally has the ability to take the game over,” Princeton coach Charles Mair said. “But she doesn’t want to do that, she wants to get her teammates involved.”

Balance is always the key for Heritage Christian, which is chasing a second straight Class 2A crown. The top-ranked Eagles (27-2) face No. 2 Fort Wayne Canterbury (23-2) in a rematch of last year’s final in Saturday’s second game. The Eagles won 64-61 last season. Heritage Christian coach Rick Risinger has won five state titles, an Indiana girls’ record, all with the Eagles.

“We didn’t want to sit back and be satisfied with what we did last year,” Risinger said.

Junior Tyasha Harris, who has several Division I offers, leads the Eagles in scoring (17.4). Senior guard Sydney Hall, who has signed with IUPUI, is Heritage Christian’s second-leading scorer (11.8) but may see limited action after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in her foot in the regular-season finale. She played just four minutes in the semi-state.

Senior guard Darby Maggard, a Belmont signee, leads Canterbury in scoring (28.6) and is shooting 47.7 on 3s.

“This team doesn’t have the offensive firepower of last year’s squad but defensively we’re a lot better,” Canterbury coach Wayne Kreiger said.

The Class A final features No. 1 Barr Reeve (28-0), the only remaining unbeaten team, and No. 2 Lafayette Central Catholic (23-6) in Saturday’s opener.

Barr Reeve trailed by as many as 22 points in the first half and 40-22 at halftime before rallying to beat Jac-Cen-Del 61-55 in the Jeffersonville semi-state last weekend.

“It was a pretty amazing comeback,” Barr-Reeve coach Mark Holt said.

Although this is Barr-Reeve’s first girls basketball state finals appearance, three starters played on the Vikings’ 2013 Class A state volleyball championship squad that beat Central Catholic in the final.

Lafayette Central Catholic girls are drawing inspiration in playing to honor assistant coach Jeff Dienhart, 44, who died on Feb. 25 after a long battle with illnesses caused by cystic fibrosis.