COLUMBIA CITY — The seniors — along with the rest of the Columbia City basketball team — are heading into the tourney having finished their regular season with a win.
The Eagles beat the visiting Fort Wayne Concordia 64-55 on senior night, the final regular season contest of the season for the twelfth graders.
“Those guys are all amazing,” said junior Derek Hinen. “We have a special bond with each one of those guys; in a system like Columbia City’s I think you get to know each other better than a lot of other system’s in the state.”
Senior Tristan Wright and junior Drew Benedict both hit from beyond the arc in the first quarter. Derek Hinen scored a basket and Daniel Woll chipped in four points, giving Columbia City 12 points and a two-point advantage heading into the second stanza.
Despite another bucket from Woll and five points from Hinen, the Eagles couldn’t hold the lead through the period. Concordia held a slim 23-22 lead heading into the locker room for the break.
The third quarter was a high scoring affair for both teams, with Columbia City regaining the lead, although a small one.
Senior Matt Rethlake put in two of his five points and Hinen added six more. Austin Paul scored four.
The Eagles out-scored the Cadets 22-19 in the period, good for a 44-42 lead with eight minutes left in the game.
In the fourth quarter, Hinen — who led the team with 22 points — was 7-for-8 from the free throw line, icing the final two points of the match-up.
Coach Benedict said Hinen has been playing with great consistency lately, taking good shots and capitalizing on opportunities to get to the basket. Hinen also analyzed his game of late.
“I’m playing a little more aggressive now — a little more within our system. I was a little shaky at the beginning of the season but now we’re all starting to turn it on, not just me. You need to have everyone click come tourney time and we are definitely having that,” Hinen said.
Following sectional play, Columbia City will be losing seniors Drew Burnsworth, Brandon Gay, Jacob Johnson, Tristan Wright and Matt Rethlake.
The Eagles head into the tournament with a 15-7 record against a 10-11 DeKalb team Tuesday at 7 p.m. in DeKalb.