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COLUMBIA CITY — Heading into the holiday break, Columbia City boys’ basketball was reeling from its second loss of the season to Wawasee.
During the break, the Eagles (6-2) left 2010 behind on a good note. Tuesday’s Columbia City Shoot-out had the host come away as one of two teams undefeated on the day at 2-0.
“The shoot-out is where its about getting your guys in an environment of playing two in one day,” Columbia City head coach Chris Benedict said. “If you’re fortunate enough to win a sectional then you have to play two in one day. This gets the kids experienced to that situation. If the opportunity arises then they know what its like to do that somewhat.”
The four-team showcase featured Prairie Heights (4-5), Wapahani (6-1), and the Eagles morning game opponent Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian (3-5). Columbia City’s night cap proved a lopsided affair with the Eagles beating Prairie Heights 57-26.
The first of two games on the day, Columbia City had its closest contest come against the Braves, now coached by former Eagles assistant Jay Sefton.
With the help of Braves senior Tim Howard’s game-high 18 points, Blackhawk hung with Columbia City throughout the first half.
Howard scored 12 points of the Braves 15 first half points.
Despite shooting just 31 percent from the field in the first half, the Eagles held a four-point lead.
Scoring all seven of his points in the first half, sophomore Derek Hinen helped Columbia City close out the first half on a 6-0 run. Hinen’s basket in the paint was put together by a three-pointer from junior Brandon Gay with 1.5 seconds left on the clock.
“Our balance was just really good,” Benedict said. “Brandon Gay was as active as he has been all season. Derek (Hinen) does a lot of solid things night in and night out.”
Columbia City took a 19-15 halftime lead and added a 9-0 run to start the third quarter. Four different Eagles pushed City’s lead to as much as 13 points in the third quarter.
What began with a Daniel Woll post bucket finished with points from Gay, Tyler Mosher and a three-pointer from Drew Burnsworth.
“I thought Tyler (Mosher) and Daniel (Woll) both played really well,” Benedict said about his post players. “Did a really good job on the boards and just finishing plays when they had a chance to.
“Daniel does a great job. He’s long and athletic and understands the game. Really made some plays for us today.”
Along with Mosher’s four rebounds, Woll pulled in a team-high seven boards to go along with eight points and no turnovers.
Blackhawk was limited to just three field goals in the third and a 34-23 deficit heading into the fourth quarter.
“From start to finish I thought that was as sound defensively that we’ve been all season,” Benedict noted. “Really proud of the way we defended.”
The lead only grew for the Eagles holding the Braves to four consecutive single digit scoring quarters. Columbia City finished shooting 6-for-11 in the second half to go 41 percent from the field for the game.