Columbia City held off a rallying Concordia Lutheran boy's basketball team for a strong win on Friday. Here were some of the keys to the Eagle victory:
1. Offensive Patience:
It’s not often a team turns down open shots outside, but Columbia City did it multiple times. The Eagles didn’t settle for long shots and contested shots. They worked the clock and sometimes had possessions last longer than a minute, and it helped wear down the Concordia defense. Eventually, one of the Cadets rotated late on help defense and Columbia City found the open man on a backdoor cut or dump-off from someone penetrating for an easy layup inside.
2. Offensive Patience, II:
Not only did Columbia City get easy buckets from waiting for the right time, it also stopped Concordia from getting out in transition. The Cadets are athletic, quick and want to run, and Columbia City almost completely eliminated that aspect of Concordia’s game. When the Eagles are making baskets and wearing down a team, the opponent can’t get out in transition against them. They can thank their offensive patience for that as well.
3. Zone Defense:
Columbia City didn’t want to let Concordia run, but it also didn’t want to let them penetrate and score inside. The Eagles used a zone that collapsed anytime the ball went inside, and it forced contested shots or passes back outside for Concordia. It worked as Concordia had eight baskets inside the arc and nine 3-pointers.
4. Derek Hinen’s first half:
Columbia City should be thankful Hinen showed up the first half. Concordia was trailing sharpshooter Derek Benedict tightly the whole game and this put a lot of pressure on Hinen. The senior responded by scoring 14 of the Eagles 24 first half points to go along with a few assists. If it wasn’t for him, the Eagles might have been behind at halftime and fighting an uphill battle.
5. Stopping everyone…except Austin Harris:
It may seem out of place to put this as a key to Columbia City’s victory, but Concordia senior Austin Harris deserves some recognition for his performance in the game. If it weren’t for him, the Cadets would have been blown out of their own gym. Harris hit seven 3-pointers to finish with 21 points, including four 3-pointers in the first half as he scored 12 of the Cadets 21 first half points. Give credit to the senior for coming up big on his senior night and to Columbia City for limiting everyone else. Concordia has multiple players averaging double digits in scoring, and Columbia City covered the rest of the team well, holding everyone else to single digits in points.