WATERLOO — “I love these guys. I love the way they play,” Columbia City Head Basketball Coach Chris Benedict said after the sectional semi-final win over North Side.
The Eagles came back from a 47-40 deficit late in the third quarter to win 66-56 over the Redskins Friday night at DeKalb.
“I think they found themselves,” Benedict said. “When they stay together they have a chance to be a really good team.”
Columbia City senior Drew Burnsworth stole the momentum in the final seconds of the third quarter, scoring two buckets and leading the Eagles to the win.
“Once we got the momentum from Burnsworth’s shot at the end of the third quarter, we did what we needed to do to put the game away,” Benedict said.
Burnsworth scored off a full-court pass from teammate Daniel Woll with 55.4 seconds on the clock, then knocked down a 3-pointer at the buzzer to take back the lead, 48-47 going into the fourth period.
Woll had another big play at the end of the first half.With the Redskins up by one point, no time left on the clock and virtually no opportunity for an open shot, Woll drew a foul at the buzzer.
The junior connected with both free throws, giving the Eagles a one-point lead at the half, 35-34.
Austin Paul tied the score at 14 with one minute left in the first quarter, but North Side answered with a 3-pointer by Andy Bachman.
The trey sparked three-consecutive 3-pointers by Bachman, giving the Redskins a 23-16 lead just one minute into the second period.
The hot streak didn’t last long, as Columbia City’s defense took over to hold North Side scoreless for the next three minutes, while tacking on 21 points in the second quarter.
The Redskins retaliated with seven unanswered points to start the second half, giving Columbia City a 41-35 mountain to climb.
Paul scored off an offensive rebound, and Burnsworth’s quarter-end spark gave Columbia City a 48-47 lead.
Woll connected with his final field goal of the game to tie the score at 50 before going down with an ankle injury.
Gay hit 6-of-6 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and Hinen chipped in five points in the remainder of the game, leading to Columbia City’s 66-56 win.
Hinen led the team in both points (22) and assists (5).
Columbia City faces Northrop in the sectional title game Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at DeKalb.