COLUMBIA CITY — Although Columbia City boys’ basketball team faced an uphill battle through the first three quarters against the Huntington North Vikings, they came out victorious at home Tuesday night 47-46.
Huntington (6-7) came out firing with a three-point basket nearly every two minutes in the first quarter.
“We talked about having a good start and we got the start we wanted,” Huntington head coach Joe Bradburn said.
With the Vikings holding a 9-0 lead over Columbia City (8-3) halfway through the first quarter, Columbia City coach Chris Benedict called a time-out.
“We had a lot of turnovers in the first quarter, we just had to get accustomed to their defense,” coach Benedict said.
Tyler Mosher came from the time-out with three-point play by scoring a basket and getting fouled.
Mosher led the Eagles with 13 points.
“It was good to see Mosher come out and get some paint baskets,” coach Benedict said.
In the ensuing possession, Daniel Woll scored cutting the Vikings lead to four going into the second quarter.
Huntington had seven separate players help score their first 20 points, making things challenging on the defensive end for the Eagles.
The Vikings defense nearly shut down Columbia City’s scoring, with only 13 points in the entire first half.
“The way we were playing in the first half, we could’ve gotten run out of the gym,” coach Benedict said.
Drew Benedict didn’t score until the final 31 seconds of the second quarter with a pair of free throws.
It was apparent that Huntington was focused on the Eagles leading scorer on the season.
The Vikings held Benedict without a field goal in the game and all six of his points coming from the free throw line.
“Drew contributed because he stretches our defense,” Bradburn said. “We had to be aware of him all the time. They had other guys step up that they’re not used to relying on.”
Facing a seven-point deficit, 20-13, the Eagles picked up the intensity going into the second half.
“I think our guys made a conscious effort in the second half to be more aggressive,” coach Benedict said.
The third quarter showed a big momentum change for the Eagles. Columbia City outscored the Vikings 13-5.
Drew Burnsworth hit a three-pointer that spiked the Eagles defense and caused three consecutive turnovers in the final two minutes of the quarter.
Daniel Woll scored the basket that gave Columbia City its first lead of the game with 1:22 left in the third quarter.
“When Columbia City gets ahead of you it’s hard to come back,” Bradburn said.
Derek Hinen finished out the third quarter with a jump-shot in the final seconds to tie the game.
“I’m pleased with the way we came back in the second half,” coach Benedict said.
Hinen continued his shooting spree in the fourth quarter, where he picked up five of his 10 points.
With half of the fourth quarter over, Columbia City gained a nine-point lead on the Vikings.
However, the Vikings made a comeback and in the final 4.3 seconds, they scored six points.
“I’m not really pleased with the last minute,” coach Benedict said. “It made it more interesting than it needed to be. We didn’t put the game away the way we would’ve liked to, but we’re still happy to come out with a win.”