Sectionals have been a bit of a road block for Columbia athletics this season. With the Eagles’ state tournament hopes so close but just out of reach, many of the same players who took the floor in Monday’s Class 3A girls basketball Waterloo Sectional Semifinal were the same athletes who fell one game short of the state tournament earlier this year in the volleyball super-sectionals.
But, once again, they didn’t go down without a fight.
“I was proud of the way our seniors battled. They battled for four quarters and it unfortunately had to end tonight,” Eagles girls basketball coach Scott Germain said after the 58-51 loss to Mater Dei (23-6).
The contest was neck-and-neck for most of the first half with the game within one point at times and then, all of a sudden, the Knights were up, 23-17, with just over one minute left to go in the first half.
Mater Dei began to sink the long ball and never looked back.
“We played a match-up zone down there and their girls hit shots,” Germain explained. “It’s kind of deflating when they pass the ball around the perimeter and they hit them.”
After Kaylee Bastien’s innate ability to drive to the basket put the game closer, 27-22, going into the locker room, Erika Varel came out hot in the third quarter. The senior guard/forward hit three baskets in a row to put the Eagles within one, 29-28.
Mater Dei’s three-point shots wouldn’t allow the game to get any closer after that.
“Their girls shot the ball extremely well and that was the difference,” Germain said. “(We) couldn’t get over the hump.”
Columbia senior guard Calli Germain led all scorers with 16 points on the night and had two assists. Bastien put up 10 points, had three steals, five assists and six rebounds against the Knights. Teammates Erika Varel and Megan Biscan each had three assists and nine and seven points, respectably.
The Lady Eagles coach says he is still proud of this team, who ended the season at 20-7.
“That’s the thing with these seniors. I didn’t want it to end and I know they didn’t either,” Germain told the Republic-Times after the game. “We told them in the locker room afterward, in life there are going to be some ups and downs and you have to keep battling and keep working toward what you want… The sun’s going to come up tomorrow.”