OSSIAN — A week off of school did not affect Columbia City’s girls basketball team, as the Eagles came away with a 52-32 win in round one of sectional action at Norwell on Friday.
The girls ran out to an 8-0 lead to start the game, holding Mississinewa scoreless until the four-minute mark. Columbia City led 10-4 after the first quarter, and again had an impressive defensive showing in the second quarter. Mississinewa scored in the first possession of the quarter, and didn’t score again until there was 3:12 left in the first half, giving Columbia City a 25-10 halftime advantage after a pair of 3-pointers by Olivia Shearer and and additional nine points by three other Eagles.
The beginning of the third quarter was the same as the first half, as Mississinewa didn’t score until the 4:17 mark, on a pair of free throws, and didn’t hit a field goal until there were three minutes left in the third. Meanwhile, Gabby Fry led with six of the team’s 13 points in the stanza.
Columbia City led 38-21 going into the fourth quarter, and continued to grow its lead through the end of the game, utilizing five different scorers.
Fry led the team in scoring with 14 points, followed by Shearer with 12 and Grace Schrader with 10. Schrader was 5-for-5 from the free-throw line.
Hayley Urban, Carly Mabie, Bekah Marshall and Hunter Alles all scored four points apiece.
Fry also led the team in rebounds with seven and Shearer tallied six.
Mabie had four assists, and Brayden Lickey and Shearer added three apiece. As a team, Columbia City had 12 assists compared to Mississinewa’s four.
The Eagles also had one more rebound than Mississenwa, despite the opponents sporting a 6-foot-4 player on their roster.
“The plan was to have someone in the front and back of her, and whoever was guarding the gall was pressuring them so they couldn’t see to throw the ball in. It was a total team defensive effort and a great team win,” Shearer said.
The first-round game was played Friday instead of it’s originally scheduled date, Tuesday, due to the weather. The girls only had two practices all week and school was closed the whole week.
“We started prepping them before the New Haven game (Jan. 25). You never know what’s going to happen with this weather,” Shearer said. “Preparation-wise, they knew what needed to be done, but cardio-wise, that was a concern with only two practices in.”
The girls showed no signs of fatigue, with scrappy defense and a quick offense throughout.
“Some of them were out shoveling snow, and the practices we did get in, there was a lot of running, much to their dismay,” Shearer said. “We have kids that find a way to get to a gym or have a barn they can shoot in.”
Columbia City faces Marion in the semifinal game Saturday (Feb. 2) night at 7:45 p.m. at Norwell. The girls beat Marion 54-37 on Nov. 16, but the Giants are on a 10-game win streak and haven’t lost a game since Dec. 21.