Columbian impresses in 22-point win

Columbian's Kaia Woods eyes the basket as she is guarded by Fostoria's Larai Williams during the game in Tiffin Tuesday.

Maddie Brisendine has been a prominent contributor for Columbian since her freshman season.

Now a senior, the team captain believes the Tornadoes have something. A squad that can cause problems in the new Sandusky Bay Conference Lake.

After Tuesday, her confidence was understandable.

Brisendine had a game-high 20 points and seven rebounds, Abby Dryfuse scored 17 points to go with 13 boards, and freshman Kaia Woods dazzled with 17 points and seven steals as the Tornadoes surged past Fostoria, 67-45.

The Tornadoes moved to 1-1. They start SBC play Saturday at Norwalk.

“In the past, we haven’t really been a team to compete with,” Brisendine said. “It’s always been like, ‘Oh, it’s Tiffin, we’re gonna beat them.’

“I think this year, it’s going to be a real difference-maker,” Brisendine said. “We’re gonna prove ourselves, and hopefully come out with a lot of wins.”

The game was tight early, with Fostoria’s Tyriana Settles scoring 10 early points. The Tornadoes led 17-16 at the first stop, and held a 30-22 lead at the break.

But the Tornadoes dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Redmen 19-9. Fostoria shot just 4 of 13 from the floor in the period, turning the ball over six times.

The second half struggles were enough for Fostoria coach Gabe Sierra to discuss some alternative tactics after the game.

“It’s been ever since last year,” Sierra said after his team fell to 0-3. “We don’t come out at halftime. I think we’re gonna keep ’em out here on the floor from here on out. I think going to the locker room is not helping us. I think if we run through some drills and keep them active, that might keep their blood going. When they sit down and get that rest, it takes a whole quarter to come back.”

Settles finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, both team highs. Her teammate, Evion Taylor, had 11 points. But it wasn’t enough to stay with the Tornadoes.

“We thought if we could get on them early — because Fostoria usually starts out strong — if we could keep on them early, keep the lead early, then this situation would happen,” Columbian coach Erin Reed said. “I thought we hustled our butts off, more so than Friday night (in a loss to Bowling Green). It was a complete 180.”

And Brisendine was a big part of that.

“I think today was different because we kind of hustled more,” Brisendine said. “We kept going for it; we were never sluggish. When someone had a bad shot, we kept them up and kept everyone going, kept the spirits up.”

Dryfuse had her second standout game in as many years against the Redmen, and Woods — who scored after a Kyrie Irving-like move in the paint for second-half layup — impressed.

“I’m sure it’s exciting for her, too, coming up from eighth grade,” Reed said of Woods. “She’s played a lot of basketball, she’s a good basketball player. She handles the ball really well. We’re glad this freshman class coming up — Kaia included, and we have three others on our roster — we’re excited this freshman class is tough.”

And it looks like the Tornadoes will be, too.