COLUMBIA CITY — The Columbia City Lady Eagles used strong first and fourth quarters and a sterling performance from the free throw line to take the night cap of the NHC/ACAC Challenge winning 54-38 over a Garrett Lady Railroaders team that entered the day undefeated.
The Lady Eagles used a strong inside presence with seniors Sierra Burlage and Corinna Raypole staking the Lady Eagles to a 14-8 first quarter lead. Raypole hit for seven points with Burlage adding four in the first period as the Lady Eagles were 5-for-9 from the floor and a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the period.
The Lady Eagles ran into foul trouble in the middle two quarters of a very physical contest putting both Burlage and Raypole on the bench.
The Lady Railroaders took advantage getting numerous baskets on offensive rebounds as they outscored the host 25-16 in the middle two quarters to take a 33-30 lead at the end of the third quarter.
“We did not execute well in the third quarter,” Eagle head coach Amy Shearer said. “We worked on some things during the week because we knew what kind of press they were going to throw at us, but for whatever reason balls were flying off of fingertips and passes were going astray, but the kids persevered through that and came out strong in the fourth quarter.”
In the fourth quarter the Railroaders came out in a spread offense looking to take the Lady Eagles one-on-one to the basket. The tactic backfired on the visitors as it also spread their players and cut down on their offensive rebounding as the Lady Eagles limited the Railroaders to one shot at the basket for most of the fourth quarter.
Increased rebounding by Columbia City blunted the Garrett press that had caused turnover problems for the Lady Eagles during the middle two quarters.
Being able to move the ball down the floor, the Lady Eagles were able to work the ball inside once again. Columbia City hit a torrid 8-of-11 in the fourth quarter and 7-of-9 from the free throw line to outscore the Lady Railroaders 24-5 in the final stanza for the 54-38 win.
“Our kids did a good job of not standing around and doing nothing,” Shearer noted. “We did a pretty good job of stopping their penetration, and we were able to hold them to one shot and done.”