HUNTERTOWN — All good things must come to an end.
Unfortunately for Columbia City’s boys basketball team, the end was Friday night at Carroll.
The Eagles took on DeKalb in the semifinal game, a squad Columbia City beat by one point in the regular season.
The Barons earned revenge in the state tournament, topping the Eagles 46-45 and ending head coach Chris Benedict’s season with a group of seniors he’s coached since they were tykes.
“Those kids have given me everything they’ve had — their entire lives,” Benedict said. “We’re not going to let one game change what they’ve meant to our program and what they’ve meant to our school.”
The final seconds of the game unfolded in a confusing way for fans, players and coaches alike.
Columbia City held a one-point lead with 29 seconds left to play after a bucket by senior Daniel Woll.
Seconds ticked off the clock as DeKalb began to make its final charge to set up the last shot.
A Baron guard drove the ball to the hoop, and two whistles blew.
One referee called a charge against the DeKalb player, and another called a block against Columbia City’s defender.
A scene not uncommon in many sporting events.
While typically after discussion the officials make a final decision, the referees decided to call both fouls.
“In all of my years of coaching, I don’t think I’ve seen a block and a charge on the same call,” Benedict said. “But it is what is is. It’s frustrating and disappointing for our kids.”
The ball was returned to the Barons with 2.5 seconds left.
DeKalb inbounded the ball and Columbia City was called for another foul, sending the Barons to the free-throw line.
Adison Daub knocked down both shots from the charity stripe, giving DeKalb a 46-45 advantage.
Columbia City got the ball to half court before calling a timeout with 1.4 seconds on the clock — enough time for one shot.
The desparation bucket bounced around the rim as the buzzer sounded, but didn’t make it to the net, and Columbia City’s season was over.
The Barons played a tight game with the Eagles, as the teams battled for the lead throughout the game.
Columbia City had a 16-13 advantage at the end of the first quarter and a 25-23 lead at the half.
DeKalb took the advantage in the third, going up 34-32 going into the final quarter.
Derek Hinen led the Eagles with 18 points, the team’s lone steal, four assistsa and three rebounds.
Woll scored 12 points and Paul also hit double digits with 10.
Though the Eagles were hoping for a better outcome in the tournament, Benedict said it doesn’t change the way he feels about the players.
“I’m not disappointed in them at all,” Benedict said. “I’m disappointed for them. They’ve put so much time and so much effort into this team.
“This program means the world to them. It means everything to them.”
“It’s just so hard to have that last conversation with those guys,” Benedict said. “I love our guys. I love what they’re about. I love what they are with each other and I love how they’ve represented us — on and off the court.
“We’re not going to let one game define our season.”
The Eagles finish the year with a 20-4 record.