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CHURUBUSCO — While Tuesday night was the fourth or fifth game of the season for most boys’ basketball teams including Columbia City (3-1), it was the first for Churubusco (0-1).
After a deep postseason run in football, ’Busco got a late start holding its first game two weeks after Columbia City’s season opener.
The seasoned Eagles showed the experience of three prior games capitalizing on 19 Churubusco turnovers and a 48 percent shooting night. City held off a scrappy ’Busco team 51-41.
“I think our guys are starting to understand what they’ve got to do to be good,” Columbia City head coach Chris Benedict said.
“I’m a little concerned with five turnovers in the fourth quarter. We could never really put them away and that’s a testament to ’Busco. But I’d rather learn on the winning side of it than on a losing side.”
It was a night of firsts for City as well. The win is the first on the road for the youthful Eagle squad. It also marks the first back-to-back wins in a young season after Columbia City beat Northfield Friday night.
Known for having a balanced offense where any Eagle could lead in scoring, Columbia City had seven players score at least four points on the night.
“When we’re going well is when everyone is getting touches,” Benedict noted. “I like the way we attacked the basket and ’Busco’s defense is designed to stop the perimeter shot.”
Churubusco held Columbia City to just five three-point attempts on the night but it wasn’t enough to stop the visiting Eagles from taking an early 13-9 lead into the second quarter.
“We worked on it,” Churubusco head coach Michael McBride said. “(Drew) Benedict kid is a great shooter. I’m not talking good. I’m talking great. We worked hard to defend that and I thought we did a good job.”
Columbia City’s sophomore guard led his team in scoring for the third time this season with 15 points. His three-point play in the lane was the last of nine points in the first half putting Columbia City up 26-15 at halftime.
“I think what we did tonight that we didn’t do a year ago was we competed for the entire game,” McBride noted. “We didn’t back down.”
Despite a deficit growing to as much as 14 points in the third quarter, Churubusco proved relentless on the glass. Junior Tyler Arrowsmith was the main contributor to a 32-25 advantage in rebounds for ’Busco.
The six-foot-eight-inch center pulled in 14 boards of his own scoring 12 of his game-high 16 points in the second half.
“He did a really good job getting looks at the basket,” coach Benedict said of Arrowsmith. “We’re concerned he’s getting it that deep.”
As much as ’Busco rallied, Columbia City always had an answer. With their lead in single digits for the first time since early in the third quarter, the CC Eagles used two extra buckets to put the game away with 2:42 left in the fourth quarter.
Leading 46-37 after an Arrowsmith three-point play, Drew Benedict followed with a lay-up and the foul.
Back up by 12 points, senior Brandon Gay gave Columbia City back-to-back possessions with a bucket and a foul. Gay’s rebound put back sent him to the line for an extra free throw.
Only eight points came from the free throw line for Columbia City going 8-for-13. City used a 48 percent shooting night to topple a Churubusco team that was noticable in their first contest of the season post a field goal perecentage of 29 for the game.
“We’re not where we need to be yet and we’re going to get there,” McBride noted. “We’re just a bit behind and we’ll get there.
“We came into the game feeling like we had a chance to win and for the most part we competed with a very good basketball team. I think we’re going to be pretty good before its all said and done.”