COLUMBIA STATION — It’s been a rough stretch for the Columbia boys basketball team, and Tuesday night figured to be another tough test against Fairview.
The Warriors entered the game on the Raiders’ tail in the Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes Division, and played Columbia close earlier this season before falling by two.
But instead, Columbia got a welcome reprieve from its meat-grinder schedule of late, harassing Fairview into 28 turnovers and cruising to a 74-48 on senior night.
The Raiders (12-5, 8-5 PAC) had lost three of four — to Stars Division front-runners Wellington and Keystone and more recently, and more harmfully, a 68-66 loss to Oberlin on Friday night. The latter pushed the Phoenix into control in the Stripes Division, though Brooklyn’s victory over Oberlin on Tuesday once again gives the Raiders a share of the Stripes lead.
“We’ve learned from some of our mistakes in those (losses),” Columbia coach Matt Sheets said.
“Our goal was to have our first winning season, and we’ve done that. And it would be nice to have a chance at the league title.”
Fairview, meanwhile, had won five of six, including handing Keystone only its second PAC loss, so this one figured to be close. But Columbia was crisp from the start, from leading scorer Zach Stopper’s consecutive opening 3-pointers to forcing 16 Fairview turnovers in the first half, which led to 10 Raider points.
“With our conference, there is no easy game,” said John Banyasz, a three-year starter and one of three Raiders seniors playing in their final home game. “So getting a win against a good team like Fairview, which beat one of the top teams in the league, hopefully can get us back on track and we can put some wins together.”
The Warriors, despite Columbia’s hot start, were within 22-18 after an impressive fast-break dunk by Rory Juhn. But Columbia rattled off the next seven, including two baskets from Jay Banyasz, and 13 of the half’s final 15 for a 35-20 edge.
Fairview showed some life after halftime, scoring the first four of the third, but after Columbia scored the next nine, punctuated by Stopper’s fourth 3-pointer, the game was all but over.
“Once we string a few shots together, we’re able to get rolling and get the momentum going our way,” said Stopper, who after playing sparingly in losses to Wellington and Keystone because of a head injury, led all scorers with 21.
The Raiders keyed on Fairview’s guard trio of John Miles, John Doherty and Cole Ziegler. The former two average a combined 26 points and the latter has two 25-point games this year. But on Tuesday, the trio combined for only 18.
Contact Joel Hammond at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Columbia 74, Fairview 48
FAIRVIEW (48): John Doherty 1-1-3, Cole Ziegler 2-4-8, Jason Kish 0-2-2, Rory Juhn 7-4-18, John Miles 3-0-7, Chris Marmatakis 1-0-2, Dan Kolcan 1-0-2, Brian Arnold 1-4-6. Totals 16-15-48.
COLUMBIA (74): Brandon Severo 2-0-4, Jay Banyasz 7-3-19, Jacob Kleinhenz 2-0-4, John Banyasz 3-0-6, Dallis Few 1-1-3, Joe Palmer 7-0-14, Zach Stopper 8-0-21, Jesse White 1-0-3. Totals 31-4-74.
Fairview 15 5 14 14 — 48
Columbia 20 15 18 21 — 74
Three-point goals: Fairview 1 (Miles), Columbia 8 (Jay Banyasz 2, Stopper 5, White). Field goals: Fairview 16-44 (36 percent), Columbia 31-70 (44 percent). Free throws: Fairview 15-19 (79 percent), Columbia 4-8 (50 percent). Rebounds: Fairview 36 (Ziegler 9), Columbia 34 (Palmer 10). Turnovers: Fairview 28, Columbia 11. Total fouls: Fairview 9, Columbia 15.
Junior varsity: Fairview, 38-34.