Eagles end season with regional semifinal loss

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Columbia junior Jonathan Holmes led the team in scoring this
season at 13.4 points per game. (Alan Dooley photo)

The Columbia High School boys basketball team lost to Cahokia last Wednesday in the Class 3A Mascoutah Regional semifinals, putting an end to a successful season while setting the stage for future success.

The Eagles ended their 2014-15 campaign with a 62-46 defeat at the hands of Cahokia. As a team, Columbia shot just 33 percent from the floor for the game and trailed 21-14 at halftime.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get off to a very good start and it’s awfully hard to play catch-up against an athletic team like Cahokia,” Columbia head coach Mark Sandstrom said. “We did a much better job in the second half of handling their pressure and executing our offense, but at that point it was really too late.”

Sandstrom said his team had to start pressuring and trying to trap Cahokia, which didn’t bode well for the Eagles.

“We also missed a lot of critical free throws in the early stages of the game,” he said. “We could have easily been tied or really close at halftime, but instead we were down 21-14.”

Still, Sandstrom said Cahokia deserves the credit for making things difficult for his team.

“Their length and athleticism in the paint caused some issues with finishing around the rim,” Sandstrom said.

Korbin Farmer led the Eagles with 15 points on the night. Jonathan Holmes added 14 points in the loss and Ryan Gudeman scored 11 points. Drew Huebner provided a strong inside presence with 10 rebounds.

For the season, Jonathan Holmes led the Eagles in scoring at 13.4 points per game. Farmer was next at 12.5 points per game.

Both of them will be returning next season, as will Gudeman, Huebner and other key players — including freshman point guard Jordan Holmes.

Despite the loss, Sandstrom classified the season as a success, especially considering the 10-win improvement from last season.

The Eagles finished the 2014-15 season with a record of 18-11.

“Overall, our season was a good one,” Sandstrom said. “Most importantly, we had great team chemistry and pulled for one another. Also, our record is pretty impressive considering our schedule and only having two seniors.

“We are looking forward to next year, which could be very special if we stay healthy and make individual improvements in the offseason.

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