COLUMBIA STATION — Columbia accomplished what it wanted to accomplish, advancing to a Division III sectional final with a 58-46 win over Independence on Tuesday.
Raiders coach Larry Babics, however, was less than thrilled with what he saw from his team.
Columbia, the fifth seed in the Garfield Heights district, struggled to put away the 10th-seeded Blue Devils. Babics saw plenty of things his team will have to correct before its Friday home matchup with Gates Mills Hawken.
“Tonight we did not play well at all,” Babics said. “I thought Independence took it to us. I know it was a tournament game and you just want to advance, but when you’re taking backwards steps for the last two weeks it’s not something to be happy about. Stuff we can control … missed free throws, not playing good defense, not knowing assignments … stuff like that when you’re in Game 23 is not acceptable.”
The Raiders (18-4) got out of the gate slowly. They missed their first five shots from the floor and shot just 3-of-14 (21.4 percent) in trailing 8-6 after the first quarter.
Columbia used an 8-2 run to open the second quarter and take a lead it would not surrender the rest of the game.
The Blue Streaks (11-12) cut the lead to two or less six times before halftime, but couldn’t get a big stop or basket when it needed one.
The Raiders led 22-20 at halftime.
In the third quarter two things happened: The Raiders got aggressive with their 1-3-1 press on defense and sophomore David Delahunty took over on offense.
Delahunty scored 15 of his game-high 22 points in the second half while the Columbia defense forced six third-quarter turnovers. The Raiders outscored the Blue Devils 21-13 in the third quarter to put the game away.
“I think we got tired,” Independence coach Hugh McMahon said. “We noticed that their 1-3-1 broke down after several passes, but we were getting too rattled and driving too quickly and missing the shot, or taking a 3-pointer that was ill-advised.
“That’s what they want you to do against that defense, and that’s on me. We should have drilled them a little more on that defense.”
Delahunty, who also had a game-high 14 rebounds, said it took the Raiders a little time to get things going.
“We played a bad first half, our shots weren’t really falling,” he said. “We had to switch it up and start attacking them a little more. That’s what I did in the second half and it got me a lot of easy buckets.
“We were cold. I think we were a little too hyped or too excited. After we got into a flow it helped us start knocking down some shots.”
Dan Baran led the Blue Devils with 18 points.
Jay Banyasz, despite sitting the entire second quarter with two fouls, scored 12 points, pulled down seven rebounds and added six steals for Columbia.
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Columbia 58, Independence 46
INDEPENDENCE (46): Pat Wisniewski 4-0-8, Brett Teare 3-1-7, Dan Baran 7-4-18, Mike Martin 0-0-0, Dan Mathews 4-0-10, Jim Wotowiec 0-0-0, Kevin Dougherty 1-0-3, Ryan Dworznik 0-0-0, Joe Fracasso 0-0-0. Totals 19-5-46.
COLUMBIA (58): Brandon Severo 3-2-10, Jay Banyasz 4-4-12, Michael Boey 0-2-2, David Delahunty 9-2-22, Kevin Simon 4-3-11, Brian Hershey 0-0-0, Brandon Heidecker 0-1-1, Josh Gibson 0-0-0, Cody Shields 0-0-0. Totals 20-14-58.
Independence 8 12 13 13 — 46
Columbia 6 16 21 15 — 58
Three-point goals: Independence 3-14 (Mathews 2, Dougherty), Columbia 4-17 (Delahunty 2, Severo 2). Field goals: Independence 19-52 (36.5 percent), Columbia
20-52 (38.4 percent). Free throws: Independence 5-8 (62.5 percent), Columbia 14-24 (58.3 percent). Rebounds: Independence 32 (Wisniewski 7), Columbia 42 (Delahunty 14). Turnovers: Independence 15, Columbia 9. Total fouls: Independence 19, Columbia 9. Fouled out: Mathews.