Tornadoes smother Lake

PHOTO BY STEVE WILLIAMS Columbian’s Jaden Myers makes a back handed pass across the lane for an assist to Bryce Burns during Tuesday’s game against Lake in Tiffin.

Columbian continued its stellar play Tuesday, winning its seventh straight game with a 78-44 rout of Lake in non-league play.

The Tornadoes (13-6) had it all working with smothering defensive pressure, which caused 27 turnovers, and an executing offense, which picked apart Lake’s 2-3 zone.

Columbian drained 8 of 22 3-pointers, with six of them belonging to freshman standout Logan Beaston for his 18 points. Bryce Burns led everyone with 20 points.

“Defensively, we did a really good job of creating turnovers early. Our guys did a good job after those turnovers of pushing the ball ahead and getting easy baskets and being unselfish,” TC coach Travis Kinn said. “We shot the ball really well early, which helped beat their zone and made it easier to get the ball to the middle and get it to the basket. Really pleased with our focus and our demeanor from the tip tonight. I think that really carried over throughout the game.

“We got some guys that can score. We did a good job of sharing the ball. Bryce hit some shots early, LJ (Reaves) got to the rim and scored … we just really played well on both sides of the floor. We just have a lot of momentum moving forward right now.”

The momentum is a seven-game winning streak, which will be put to the test Friday as the Tornadoes travel to Clyde to try to avenge a 69-67 buzzer-beating loss on Jan. 4.

Columbian got going early with three triples in the opening quarter. After the Tornadoes led 5-4 early, they went on a 14-6 run to end the quarter with a 19-10 advantage.

Lake had 10 turnovers in the first period and 17 in the first half, which resulted in a 42-19 halftime deficit.

Columbian really opened up the contest with a 19-5 run to start the second quarter.

“They are a very athletic team and a very good team,” Lake coach Jeff Hoffman said. “They cause problems for us with their length and we are a little inexperienced. We have one returning varsity player on our whole squad, which makes things difficult, but that doesn’t take anything away from Tiffin Columbian. That’s a good basketball team. Look forward to seeing them play some of those Toledo teams in the tournament coming up.

“We have the tendency to try to emulate the way the other team is playing and play at their pace and we can’t do that. We talk to them about being aggressive, playing smart and playing unselfish, but sometimes we just aren’t there yet,” he said. “We are making strides. Last year, this team won one game all season long. We have four right now with a few left I think we can win, so we are making strides as a team.”

Columbian continued to push the lead in the third quarter as Beaston drilled three triples for a 62-29 advantage heading into the fourth.

“We have a lot of young guys with three great seniors, but we have a couple sophomores, a junior and a freshman and now they are playing beyond their years at this time of the season,” Kinn said of the recent success. “We’ve gotten the experience, we were fortunate to win some close games at the beginning of the year and I think that’s paid some dividends for us. We were still able win games, but learn some lessons through those and now we have learned to take care of those things and make sure we aren’t in those tight games.”

Tyler Saffran led the Flyers with 15 points, while Hadden Rodgers added nine and Cam Hoffman had eight.

Reaves dropped in 14 points for the Tornadoes. After scoring 21 points in the JV contest, Jaden Myers had seven points.

“We have Clyde Friday, which we owe them one after they stole one with a last second shot,” Kinn said. “Fremont (Ross) is a good team Saturday and then Norwalk the following Friday. Three good teams coming up and three teams we have to be focused for and be ready to come out and play. We have a lot of momentum right now and that wave of momentum … we just have to keep riding it.”