City giant in return home

   COLUMBIA CITY — The Columbia City Lady Eagle basketball team finished both halves against the Marion Lady Giants with strong inside play. The Lady Eagles out scored the visitors 44-27 in the second and fourth quarters to take a 65-50 win Saturday night.
   After a close first quarter that went back and forth the Eagles finally took the lead 9-6 on an inside basket by senior Corinna Raypole. A basket from the right wing by junior Samara Qureshi gave Columbia City an 11-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
   The Lady Eagles out scored the visiting Giants 21-12 in the second quarter to take a 32-20 lead at halftime.
   The Lady Eagles got scoring from seven different players in the quarter including two straight Kayla Dunn baskets on Marion turnovers.
   The Eagles also got four points from Sarah Opliger in the quarter including a basket in the lane that gave Columbia City a 10-point lead at 28-18.
   Coming out of the half the Eagles had their only letdown of the night. Marion’s Katrina Blackmon, who was 1-for-8 from the field up until the third quarter, went on a run scoring 10 of her 13 points in the third quarter.
   Marion point guard Laura Friday hit two free throws to bring the Lady Giants within four at 39-35. A three-point play by sophomore Hannah Schnorr gave the Eagles breathing room at 42-35 at the end of three quarters.  
   “For two games now we have had trouble in the third quarter,” Columbia City coach Amy Shearer said. “We played well in the first half but we sort of took a break at the start of the third quarter. We could have come out with more intensity in that third quarter.”
   The Lady Eagles took over in the fourth quarter. The Lady Eagles were repeatedly able to get the ball in deep thanks to good floor spacing and ball movement.
   Columbia City’s Raypole was the big beneficiary repeatedly getting open on the block and being almost automatic, scoring four baskets from the field in the fourth quarter.
   “She did a nice job of getting position down on the block and our guards did a nice job of getting her the ball where she needed it,” Shearer said.
   Raypole was part of a play that helped break the Giants’ back. The Columbia City senior got the ball in low and was fouled going to the basket by Blackmon, who picked up her fourth personal on the play. Blackmon also picked up her fifth foul on the play, a technical foul for throwing the ball.
   Raypole went to the line knocking down three of the four free throws and the Eagles scored on the resulting possession to go up 53-40.
   “Corinna did a good job for us, knocking down some big free throws when the technical was called,” Shearer said. “That sort of got us over the hump and gave us the confidence to put them away.”
   Columbia City was able to maintain their lead for the rest of the contest behind 10-of-12 shooting from the field in the fourth quarter, despite two three pointers and 10 fourth quarter points from Marion’s Friday.
   “We did a nice job of containing their go-to kids, the point guard and the Blackmon girl,” Shearer said. “We kind of lost her in the third quarter, but we lost her as a team, the person who was guarding her did a good job, but I thought overall we did a pretty good job especially on offense against their man defense, when we sort of picked it apart.”