The championship day for Columbia City boys’ basketball began with some heart-stopping drama in the regional semifinal.
The Eagles were featured in the first of two morning games against Delta, who only two seasons ago won the same regional.
Columbia City (19-5) built up as much as a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter before Delta, led by senior Jacob Bryan’s 24 points, surged back to tie the game.
With 03.3 seconds remaining, Columbia City turned to senior forward Tyler Mosher for a bucket to seal the 59-57 win and move on to a regional championship over Harding Saturday night 55-47.
“When they called my number I was getting a little nervous but after that bucket the feeling was amazing,” Mosher said. “We had a lot of success inside so we went with what worked all game. The outcome was good.”
As Columbia City built up a double- digit lead on Delta, the post play from Mosher and sophomore Daniel Woll made the difference.
Together, the two Eagles scored 24 points in the paint. Woll scored eight of his 14 points in a third quarter where Columbia City outscored Delta 16-5.
Woll shot 7-for-9 from the field as one of four Eagles to score in double figures.
Drew Benedict led City with 16 points shooting 3-for-6 from behind the arc. The sophomore sharp shooter for the Eagles hit three-pointers in each of the final two quarters against Delta.
Despite a 13-3 run to end the third quarter, Columbia City saw its lead disappear in the fourth with Delta scoring 26 points in the final quarter.
Going 8-for-8 from the free throw line, Bryan was fouled from behind the arc on two different occasions.
The second foul looked to be questionable by fans and many on the Columbia City bench. A technical foul to coach Chris Benedict was added after taking his jacket off in what the referee called a ‘demonstrative fashion.’
After hitting all five free throws, Delta got the ensuing possession and scored seven unanswered points in the stretch with 2:18 left.
The Columbia City lead was cut down to 55-51 with the break Delta was given.
Two empty trips down the court for Columbia City had Delta cut the lead to one with a three-pointer from Greg Corbin.
Two free throws from Drew Benedict pushed the lead back to three at 57-54.
Taking a three to tie the game, Delta missed and caught the offensive rebound for two points and a foul. Jaylin Coulter went to the line hitting the game-tying free throw with 36.1 left in the game.
Holding for the last shot, Columbia City went to Mosher for a post move and the left-handed lay-up.