When the going got tough Wednesday night in the championship game of the Columbia-Freeburg Boys Christmas Basketball Tournament, the Eagles definitely got things going.
Trailing 31-30 to start the fourth quarter, Columbia held Triad without a basket in the final eight minutes turning an 18-3 advantage in the final frame into a 48-34 victory.
The Eagles improved to 11-0 on the season and won the holiday tournament for the second consecutive year.
“Our experience prevailed tonight,” said Columbia coach Mark Sandstrom. “We had a nice fourth quarter, I just wish that would have come a little earlier.
“I love where our team is right now,” he added. “We need a couple of days off and then we’ve got two trips to Clinton County coming up that we’ve got to get ready for.”
Columbia led 22-16 at halftime despite shooting a tepid 8-24 from the field and converting just 4-10 from the free throw line. Things didn’t get any better for the Eagles in the third quarter as they mustered just eight points on 3-10 shooting, which included a 0-6 effort from beyond the arc.
Columbia missed again on its first attempt in the fourth quarter, but Drew Huebner was there to snag the rebound and put the ball back in and get fouled in the process. The 6-4 senior sank the free throw for a big three-point play that seemed to swing the momentum back to the Eagles.
“When it’s not going in you’ve got to go get it and Drew had that huge putback in the fourth quarter, That’s what Drew does,” Sandstrom said of Huebner who finished with 16 points and was the tournament MVP.
“Drew was the one talking in the huddle and he’s the one that wants it the most,” the coach continued. “I’m just very impressed with him.”
Huebner had 16 points and senior guard Ryan Gudeman added 11 to pace the Eagles. But it was Huebner and 6-7 post mate Korbin Farmer – who ended with eight points – who gave the Knights the most trouble.
“Their strength down low was just too much for us to handle tonight,” said Triad coach Sam Drake. “They’ve got two big guys down there that will just manhandle you and that happened to us tonight.
“This was definitely not a 14 point game,” added Drake, whose team fell to 5-8. “Our guys have a lot of fight in them and I think they’ve shown that the last few nights.”
Noah Moss led the Bulldogs with 16 points.
Civic-Memorial 51, Freeburg 48
Civic-Memorial held off Freeburg 51-48 to place third in the tournament.
With the game tied at 38-38 to start the fourth quarter, David Lane knocked down a 3-pointer 30 seconds into the final frame to put his team ahead. The Eagles would not give up that lead the rest of the game as they picked up the hard-fought victory.
Marquette 51, Waterloo 49
Shandon Boone hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Marquette a 51-49 win over Waterloo in the fifth place game. The Bulldogs led by three with under a minute to play, but missed the front end of two one-and-bonus opportunities to let the Explorers back in it. Boone led all scorers with 30 points for Marquette. Dylan Hunt paced Waterloo with 21 points, as Ben Huels added 15.
Piasa-Southwestern 68, Sparta 55
Piasa’s Justin Bailey hit eight 3-pointers and finished with 30 points to help the Birds get past Sparta 68-55 in the seventh place game. Collin Baumgartner added 13 points for Piasa, as Ben Lowis chipped in with 11. The Bulldogs had three players score in double digits led by the 14 points of Gabe Yearian, as Alzye Nesbit and Devin Brown ended with 11 points each.
Lebanon 54, Valmeyer 50
Lebanon went 12-16 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to edge Valmeyer 54-50 to finish ninth. Noah Reinneck led three players in double figures for the Greyhounds with 19 points, as David Krumsieg added 16 points and Derrick Guthrie 12. Owen Miller paced the Pirates with 11 points and Trent Larsen 10.
Dupo 72, Lovejoy 50
Dupo outscored Lovejoy 25-7 in the fourth quarter to break open a tight game and finish the tournament with a 72-50 victory. The Tigers hit 16-18 free throws in the final frame and was 25-31 from the charity stripe for the game. Austin Francis led three players in double figures for Dupo with 20 points, as Michael Overbay and Cody Richardson finished with 16 points apiece. Khari Jackson paced the Wildcats with 12 points, as Jeremiah Perry added 11.