COLUMBIA CITY — It was apparent to fans in the stands at Columbia City’s girls basketball game last Friday against Marion that the Eagles are on a roll.
After starting the season by losing its first to games, Columbia City went on a three-game win streak, beating athletic Snider and Marion teams last week, 51-42 and 54-37, respectively.
Snider has traditionally been a fast team, and Marion sported 6-foot-5, 6-1 and 5-foot-11 players.
“It doesn’t matter how quick you are or how tall you are — they (Eagles) just want to win,” said head coach Amy Shearer. “Our kids come in with the attitude that they’re here to play. I’m so proud of this team.”
Against Marion, Columbia City had consistent, balanced scoring from several players, leading 13-8 after the first quarter and 26-16 at halftime. The Eagles outscored Marion every quarter, including 14-13 in the third and 14-6 in the fourth quarter.
Of Columbia City’s 54 points, 18 came from the free-throw line — the girls were 18-for-18 from the charity stripe up until the final minutes of the game.
Despite facing a defender five inches taller than her for most of the game, Alaina Rongos scored 15 points. Olivia Shearer also added 15 points to the scoreboard and Carly Mabie had 10. Gabby Fry and Brayden Lickey each tallied six points and Hunter Alles had two. Sharing the scoring is a key factor in Columbia City’s success.
“We’ve talked quite a bit this season about unity — being selfless — we told them, ‘there’s times you’ll have to have to sacrifice something for the greater good of the team,’” Shearer said. “The kids are doing a great job of that. They are working together as a team and as a unit. They want to win ball games and are not concerned with who is going to get the glory — that’s what Columbia City basketball has been about for a long time.”
One of the major areas of improvement is the Eagles’ ball control, only giving up eight turnovers compared to about 18 turnovers in the opening games. Shearer said the team is focusing on improving in key areas that may not be apparent in highlight reels, but will make a difference in the team’s success, such as rebounding, passing and free throws.
“We come in every day and focus on improvement — and we’re improving in categories we’re trying to improve on,” Shearer said. “I’m happy with how we’re moving but we have plenty of work to do. The kids know that. We’ll enjoy the wins and get back to work.”
At Snider, the Eagles used a strong second quarter to carry them to a 51-42 win. The game was tied at 10 after the first quarter, then Columbia City went on a 19-11 run in the second to lead 29-21 at halftime.
Snider crept back in the third quarter, making up two points and holding Columbia City to just six points. The Eagles had a 35-28 advantage going into the fourth, then outscored Snider 16-13 to make the final score 51-42.
Rongos led the team in points and rebounds with 17 and five, respectively. Marie had 10 points and Shearer recorded eight. Madison Woodward had five points. Columbia City tallied 10 offensive rebounds compared to Snider’s one. Overall, the Eagles had 23 rebounds compared to the Panther’s 19.