Columbian drops Willard for 4th-straight win

Columbian coach Bill Beaston is the first to admit that his team’s wins often aren’t things of beauty.

He said he doesn’t care, and neither do his players.

Columbian won its fourth-straight game Friday night, topping Northern Ohio League rival Willard 43-37. The victory moved Columbian to 9-7 overall and 4-4 in the NOL.

“It is a motto of ours, just to win the day,” Beaston said. “However that needs to happen is what we do.”

On this day, it meant solid games from Josh Flint, who scored 14 points, and Donovan Walker, who had 10, including a key fourth quarter layup to help put the game away. Derek Dryfuse added eight points.

It was a game where Willard grabbed a 13-8 lead in the second quarter, only to fall prey to a big TC run.

Dryfuse’s stickback made it 13-10, then Flint’s trey from the left wing tied it with 5:36 left in the half. Flint added a layup and a three-point play to make it 18-13. Alec Demith’s 3 from the wing capped the 13-0 run, and put the Tornadoes up 21-13.

Willard answered, going on a 7-2 run to close the half. But despite keeping it close until the final minute, the Flashes never caught Columbian.

Part of the reason was that Willard really struggled from the floor, making just 13 of 39 shots.

“That’s part of the game,” Flashes coach Chris Long said after his squad dropped to 11-7, 4-6 in the NOL. “There’s going to be nights you don’t make shots. The question is, what do you do to counteract that? Tonight, we didn’t do enough to counteract that. We continued to shoot 3s. When you’re not making them, that ends up for a lot of long rebounds and a lot of runouts for other teams.”

Willard’s Connor Robinson made three 3-pointers and finished with a team-best 12 points. But no other player reached double digits. Carson Ebert, who burned the Tornadoes for four 3s and 22 points in the Flashes’ win over Columbian Dec. 27, was limited to one 3 and five points Friday.

“We made sure somebody was running at him on the catch,” Beaston said. “He still had open 3s, but I thought a lot of them were rushed, because guys were running at him. I would have liked to box and rebounded a little better and taken away some of their opportunities, but to hold a team to 37 points for four quarters, that’s just a great effort defensively by my guys.”

Another factor in TC’s win was foul shooting. The Tornadoes went 9 for 14 from the line, while Willard went 6 for 12, missing the front end of three consecutive front 1-and-1s in the fourth quarter.

“It’s been a thorn in our side a lot this year,” Long said. “We could have done other things to counteract that; crash the offensive glass, try to get into the zone as much as possible, and use our post players to help create looks or help create driving opportunities. It just didn’t work out for us tonight.”

Columbian will go for its fifth straight win tonight, when it hosts Bowling Green.