Columbian in a zone against New Riegel

NEW RIEGEL – Alec Demith was just over half court with the ball pinned to his hip.

And there the Columbian guard stood. With his New Riegel defender not engaging him, he stood there and tossed it back and forth between his teammates.

There was still five minutes to go in the game and the Tornadoes were up five.

Some could chalk up the approach to playing two games in as many days.

But that wasn’t the case at all.

Columbian coach Bill Beaston was trying to draw New Riegel out of its zone to expose the post advantage he had in Derek Dryfuse and Isiah Moore.

But New Riegel coach Dave Losey wasn’t biting.

“This will give us a chance to win at the end. I’ll take this,” Losey said to his bench.

The strategy didn’t work for Beaston and the result didn’t work out for Losey as the Tornadoes dumped New Riegel, 46-40, in non-league play.

“We were in our (2-3) zone the whole night and they have those two monsters inside and we don’t match up too well with them, especially with our big guy on the bench with four fouls. There was five minutes to go and they were stalling it and they were only up five,” Losey said. “If we can get a steal and we did and had a couple of opportunities. If they want to make a one possession game at the end for all the marbles, I like our chances better than playing man for five minutes.”

The Blue Jackets (7-14) made just two of five shots down the stretch and had three turnovers as Columbian made no miscues and salted the game away at the line.

“I thought if we could get them out of the zone, maybe we could run a little of our man sets to try to get an easy look but they sat in it so I was content to limit possessions as much as possible,” Beaston said. “I felt good about us getting defensive stops down the stretch.

:Offensively, we’ve been struggling to finish. I thought we had a lot of great looks against their zone tonight. We missed a lot of point blank looks tonight. Maybe it was a little frustration too,” Beaston said. “(I thought) hey, let’s work some clock and get some free ones at the line and make some defensive stops.”

Both teams were coming off games Tuesday night and it was New Riegel who showed more life out of the game, scoring eight straight to lead 8-2 three minutes into the game.

“Back-to-back road nights and New Riegel is really scrappy and really good at home. We weren’t sure what to do defensively. I guess I was a little concerned about energy and what we had in the tank after overtime game (Tuesday) night,” Beaston said. “We were content to play half court and that suited what they wanted to do so we threw a half court trap on and tried to increase the tempo and increase the pressure. It was a totally different game after that.”

New Riegel’s Tim Ink buried a jumper to make it 17-8 with 6:47 to go in the half. It was the last field goal the Blue Jackets scored until the third quarter as Columbian (12-9) utilized eight New Riegel turnovers to rally back to lead 23-18 at half. The turnaround included a 13-0 run.

“I think we’re making strides. It’s late in the year but we’re going in right direction,” Losey said. “We really executed what we wanted to do tonight for the most part. We weren’t really aggressive enough in the second half offensively.”

The half court trap proved painful for New Riegel as it finished the night with 24 turnovers while Columbian had just nine.

“It was just (an issue) of being aggressive,” Losey said. “Once we caught the ball in areas where you’ve got to make a decision quickly and you have to make an aggressive decision, we were just passive with it at times.”

It was a double-double dose of Dryfuse. Columbian’s Derek Dryfuse had 15 points and 10 rebounds. New Riegel’s Jake Dryfuse countered with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Columbian also got nine points from Donovan Walker and eight from Moore. New Riegel was paced by Grant Lescallett’s 15 points.

The win ensured Columbian’s first winning season since the 2009-2010 campaign.