The Columbia Eagles ran into a buzzsaw Wednesday night at the Class 3A Highland Sectional, falling 59-37 to highly ranked Centralia.
An early barrage of three-pointers by the Orphans put Columbia behind the eight ball early. They trailed 23-11 after one quarter.
“We needed to get off to a quick start and Centralia shot the lights out early,” Columbia head coach Mark Sandstrom said. “Centralia is not the type of team you want to play from behind on with how they like to control the tempo.”
The Eagles played toe to toe with the Orphans in the second quarter, taking a 29-16 deficit into the locker room. Columbia continued to ramp up its intensity in the third quarter, cutting into Centralia’s lead multiple times thanks to a few key baskets from senior Jonny Holmes. The Eagles trailed 38-27 heading into the fourth quarter.
But just as elite teams such as Centralia tend to do, the Orphans grabbed multiple offensive rebounds and loose balls on the court to get extra chances to score. That wore down the Eagles in the end, and Centralia pulled away for a 59-37 victory. The Orphans advanced to the sectional final against Althoff on Friday.
“We did a nice job of cutting into their lead, but whenever there was a 50-50 ball or a crucial rebound to be had, it didn’t seem to bounce our way,” Sandstrom said. “It was a hard-fought game though in another great environment. I was very proud of our kids.”
Holmes led the way in his final game for the Eagles, scoring 13 points. Fellow senior Korbin Farmer added eight points in his final game for Columbia.
The Eagles ended their season with a record of 22-7. Read more on the team’s amazing season in the March 16 print edition of the Republic-Times.
For photos from the game, click here.