COLUMBIA CITY — Columbia City’s boys basketball team proved it is ready for sectional play — topping Northrop Saturday, 55-49.
The Eagles had as much as a 15-point lead over the Bruins, who knocked Columbia City out of the state tournament last season and handed the Eagles two of its eight losses in 2011-12.
Northrop has lost its last three games in a row, with Concordia and Pike setting the stage for Columbia City to beat the Bruins for the Eagles’ senior night.
“I know it’s special for them to win their last one at home,” Columbia City head coach Chris Benedict said. “We’ve had a lot of support for those guys over the years and it’s good for our seniors to go out on a winning note.”
Benedict touted the team’s strong defensive play, which held Northrop stand-out Bryson Scott to only two points in the first half.
Scott is a Purdue University recruit.
Benedict said the key to the team’s win was slowing down the Bruins’ fast-paced play.
Scott’s lone first-half points came in the opening quarter, when he stole the ball and took it coast-to-coast for a dunk to give the Bruins a 12-10 advantage.
But Scott’s momentum didn’t last long, as he picked up his second foul with two seconds left in the first quarter. Northrop had a 14-12 advantage going into the second period.
Columbia City went on an 8-0 run to start the second quarter, as Drew Benedict hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Derek Hinen hit a field goal to give the Eagles a 20-14 lead.
Columbia City didn’t pick up its first foul until 4:34 left in the first half.
The Eagles continued their run, holding Northrop to two points in the second quarter, while scoring 19 of their own to take a 31-16 advantage going into the locker room at halftime.
All five Columbia City seniors, Hinen, Benedict, Daniel Woll, Austin Paul and Jon Simmons, scored in the first half for the Eagles.
Scott retaliated in the third quarter, proving his Division I status by scoring 11 points in the eight-minute period, as Northrop inched its way back to cut Columbia City’s lead to two going into the fourth quarter.
The Bruins were within two possessions of the lead for much of the final period, but the Eagles held on to win 55-49.
Columbia City’s all-time leading scorer, Bill Schwarz, was in the stands Saturday. See Tuesday’s Edition of The Post & Mail for more on Schwarz’s visit, along with the Eagles’ first-round sectional draw, East Noble.
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