COLUMBIA STATION — When Columbia needed a hero Tuesday night, Jay Banyasz answered the call.
Banyasz scored the Raiders’ last seven points over the final 1:24 to complete Columbia’s come-from-behind 56-54 win over Clearview in a Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes Division battle.
“I just did what the coaches asked me to do,” said Banyasz, who scored eight of his 12 points from the free throw line. “My teammates did a great job of spacing the floor, leaving open lanes for me to drive the lane and get fouled.”
After Brandon Severo hit a pair of free throws to put the Raiders ahead 48-47 midway through the fourth quarter, Clearview’s Gerrell Williams made a couple of heroic shots of his own.
First, he hit a 3-pointer from the corner to put the Clippers up 50-48. Then with 1:27 left to play, he made it 52-49 with a two-handed dunk after stealing the ball at half-court.
The Raiders (12-2, 7-1) trailed by as many as 11 in the second quarter and might have dug themselves a hole they couldn’t get out of if sophomore David Delahunty hadn’t scored 13 of his 18 points in the first half.
“David usually gets us going early and usually our older guys close out the game for us,” said Columbia coach Larry Babics, whose team moved a half-game ahead of Lutheran West in the Stripes Division standings.
“Next year it will be David and Kevin (Simon) making those big plays at the end of games. Right now we have some great seniors that know how to make plays at the end of the game and you saw Jay do that tonight.”
Williams led all scorers with 26 points, while Delahunty led the Raiders with 19.
Clearview (10-4, 6-2) called its final timeout with 9.4 seconds to play to set up a possible game-tying or winning shot, but Lance Billings’ fadeaway 3-pointer at the buzzer was way off the mark.
“I really don’t have any answers,” Clearview coach John Szalay said. “They beat us the same way the last three times we’ve played them. I love my kids, they played hard tonight, but we just don’t have the answer against these guys. In the second half we fell into the trap of playing their game, walking the ball up the court and allowing them to shoot from the outside.”
Columbia outscored the Clippers 30-21 in the second half.
“The second half we went exclusively man on defense because they have some really good shooters,” Babics said. “We’ve been in so many big games over the last two years that these guys know how to pull them out.”
Daimon Knowles also had 15 points for Clearview, including three 3-pointers.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Columbia 56, Clearview 54
CLEARVIEW (54): Gerrell Williams 12-1-26,. Eric Burkey 3-1-8, Jason Young 1-0-2, Daimon Knowles 6-0-15, Lance Billings 1-0-3. Totals 23-2-54.
COLUMBIA (56): Brandon Severo 2-5-10, Brian Hershey 1-1-4, Jay Banyasz 2-8-12, Michael Boey 1-0-2, David Delahunty 7-1-19, Kevin Simon 4-0-9. Totals 17-15-56.
Clearview 16 17 11 10 — 54
Columbia 9 17 16 14 — 56
Three-point goals: Clearview (Knowles 3, Billings, Burkey, Williams), Columbia (Delahunty 4, Severo, Hershey, Simon). Field goals: Clearview 24-57 (42 percent), Columbia 17-50 (34 percent). Free throws: Clearview 2-5 (40 percent), Columbia 15-22 (68 percent). Rebounds: Clearview 37, Columbia 35. Turnovers: Clearview 9, Columbia 6. Total fouls: Clearview 16, Columbia 13.
Junior varsity: Clearview, 46-32