NEW HAVEN — Columbia City’s girls basketball team began the 2011-12 season expected to finish at the bottom of the conference.
Lady Eagle Head Coach Amy Shearer had different plans for the team, making the team’s goal to prove the polls wrong.
“We were not going to finish last in the conference, that was a big goal for us after the polls came out,” Shearer said.
With Saturday’s 55-34 win over New Haven, Col. City finished the season 3-4 in the NHC, good for a fifth-place finish out of eight teams.
Though the Lady Eagles won by more than 20 points, many spectators may not have expected that outcome after the first quarter.
New Haven had a 13-10 lead at the end of the first quarter with six points from Kiersten Perkins, who led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring with 15 on the game.
“We just couldn’t get over the hump in the first quarter,” Shearer said. “We’d get a turnover or miss a shot.”
Lady Eagle Macie Hinen made quick work of taking the lead in the second period, scoring a field goal on Columbia City’s first possession and knocking down a pair of free throws to take a 14-13 lead just a minute into the quarter.
Kalisha Goree chipped in three free throws and Bunyan had two to finish off the half.
The Lady Eagles outscored New Haven 14-6 in the period and shut down Perkins, who didn’t score any points in the eight minutes.
Columbia City used six players to score 11 points, while the Lady Bulldogs relied on Perkins to score most of their third-quarter points, which came primarily from free throws.
Bunyan hit a bucket at the buzzer to make the score 35-26 going into the final period.
“We had a lot of kids contribute tonight,” Shearer said.
Seven players scored for the Lady Eagles in the fourth quarter, led by Hinen with seven of her 13.
Columbia City was led by Opliger with 14 points, followed by Hinen who tallied 13.
Senior Sidney Bunyan had eight points, Kalisha Goree added seven, Mariah Hicks contributed five and Lacey Jahn had four.
The Lady Eagles travel to Huntington Tuesday for their last game of the season before sectionals.
The 4-14 Lady Vikings have won two of their last three games and Shearer said Columbia City is going to have to come into the game ready for a tough match-up.
“They’re (Huntington) getting better as the season goes,” Shearer said. “They have a tough schedule and a tough conference. It’s going to be a dogfight, I’m sure.”