COLUMBIA CITY — Bell-mont’s boys basketball team took nearly the same approach Saturday at Columbia City as the girls used Friday against the Lady Eagles — a low-possession, low-scoring ball game. Unfortunately for the Braves, they lost 47-38 like the girls did Friday in Decatur.
Columbia City pulled out to a 5-0 lead one minute into the game with a bucket by Daniel Woll in the first possession and a 3-point play by senior Austin Paul.
With a 10-10 tie heading into the second quarter, Bellmont found another offensive threat in Maverick Birch, who hit a 3-pointer less than a minute into the stanza to give the Braves their first — and only — lead of the game, 13-10. Another three gave the visitors their biggest lead of the game at six.
The lead was short lived however, as Columbia City rallied to outscore Bellmont 16-8 in the final five minutes of the half. Eagle Drew Burnsworth hit back-to-back 3-pointers followed by a traditional 3-point play by Derek Hinen with 2.7 seconds left to make the score 26-23.
The teams only scored a combined 11 points in the third quarter as both teams put in a lot of effort on the defensive end.
A 29-29 score held until 0.1 seconds left in the third, when Columbia City’s Brandon Gay was fouled. Gay hit both free throws for his only points of the game. He also chipped in a steal and an assist for the Eagles.
Bellmont's Nick Fuelling hit a field goal with two minutes left in the game to cut Columbia City’s lead to five, but the Eagles answered with five unanswered points, putting the game out of reach.
Columbia City’s Matt Rethlake finished the game with a lay-up to make the score 47-38. Woll had 11 points and eight rebounds for the Eagles, followed by Derek Hinen with 10.
One of Columbia City’s stand-out scorers, Drew Benedict, finished the game with just five points. But Coach Chris Benedict said his son doesn’t care how many points he scores, as long as the team wins.
“We’re getting a lot of contributions from a lot of different guys,” Benedict said. “His biggest concern is helping the team win. They (Braves) were face-guarding him and it made it difficult for him to get a shot off.”
Columbia City improved to 9-2 and hosts Homestead Friday.