COLUMBIA CITY — Free throws represent just that, an opportunity to score free points with the clock stopped and nobody’s hand in your face.
Failure to convert a high percentage of free throws usually spells doom for a team trying to play catch up.
That was the case for the Columbia City Lady Eagles as cold shooting from the free throw line and a physical inside game from the Northrop Lady Bruins gave Columbia City a 66-58 loss on senior night at the Donald S. Weeks gymnasium.
“We got close but couldn’t get over the hump,” Lady Eagle Head Coach Amy Shearer said. “We didn’t hit our free throws down the stretch.
“We only hit four in the fourth quarter and missed numerous in the third.”
The Lady Eagles converted only 6-of-17 free throws in the second half while trying to make up a seven-point halftime deficit.
Columbia City fell behind by double digits (20-8) in the first quarter as the Lady Bruins showed both a strong inside game behind Aleah Swary and Quila Jackson and four 3-pointers, two apiece from Paige Wright and Sarah Osborn.
The Lady Eagles began to chip away at the Bruin lead behind three baskets from senior Samara Qureshi and two jump shots from sophomore Kalisha Goree. A free throw from senior Sidney Bunyan brought the Lady Eagles to within seven at the first break, 20-13.
The two teams played even with both scoring eleven points in the quarter to account for the 31-24 Lady Bruin lead at halftime.
Columbia City could have closed the gap from the free throw line, but were only able to connect with 2-of-9 attempts in the period.
A basket by Alyssa Hansen brought the score to 48-42, the closest the Lady Eagles would get to the lead.
Goree led the Lady Eagles with a consistent 18 points, scoring in every quarter. Sarah Opliger added 11, and Macie Hinen chipped in 10.
Opliger added seven rebounds while Goree, Hinen and Hicks all chipped in six boards for the Eagles.
The non-conference loss drops the Lady Eagles’ record to 7-13 as they return to Northeast Hoosier Conference action Saturday when they travel to New Haven.