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Eagles use typical traits for success

Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 5:45 am

If there is such a thing as the “typical Columbia City basketball team,” this season's Eagles squad fits the moniker.

For those that don't know much about the program's history, Columbia City thrives when it is a well-coached, disciplined team that plays good defense and can shoot lights-out from the field.

This team can check off all four of those attributes.

Columbia City sits at 7-0 so far this season. Only one IHSAA-sanctioned school has more wins entering this weekend's game, Borden in Class 1A at 8-0. Yet despite a fast start and a semistate appearance two years ago, the Eagles are not garnering a single vote in the latest Class 4A Associated Press poll.

As usual, Columbia City's defense is leading the way. Following an 89-66 defeat of Wawasee on Wednesday, the Eagles are now surrendering an average of 38.9 points per game. That mark is good for 10th overall in the state and second-best among Class 4A teams, with Jay County 3rd at 35.17.

Senior guard Drew Benedict is one of the best shooting players in the area, regardless of position. He has plenty of help around him, with Derek Hinen capable of heating up as well from the outside. Daniel Woll gives the team a presence inside, and newcomer Mason Coverstone, a sophomore, has pitched in big-time as well, including a team-high 19 points in the victory over Wawasee.

But the challenges have been scarce for the Eagles so far. Of the teams that Columbia City has defeated, only Northfield at 3-2 has a record now above .500. The lone NHC contest has been against East Noble, a team that is expected to finish at the bottom of the league standings.

However, the 32-point average margin of victory shows that the Eagles are dominating the teams they are expected to dominate. The new year will bring a lot of challenges, including a four-game stretch at the beginning of January against Homestead, DeKalb, Carroll and Norwell over a 20-day span.

But for now, the Eagles are going about their business and winning games in impressive fashion.

Even if no one around the state is noticing.