VERMILION — Playing its fourth game in five nights finally caught up with Vermilion on Tuesday night.
Columbia dialed up plenty of long-distance shooting and was able to hold off a late Sailors comeback to squeeze out a 60-58 non-conference win.
The Raiders (17-4) connected on 12 of 26 3-pointers and built a 17-point lead after a Brandon Severo 3-point shot with 2:01 left in the third quarter, but the Sailors wouldn’t go away.
“We just couldn’t get going to start the game,” Vermilion coach Kurt Habermehl said. “When we were down 17 in the third quarter, I told the kids if they could get me within 10 with about six minutes to go in the game, we’d have a good chance.”
Vermilion (14-7) then went on a 17-5 run, fueled by three 3-pointers and a 3-point play by Kyle Nader, a 3-point shot by Cameron Kuhn and a basket by Zach Myracle to cut the deficit to five with five minutes left in the game.
Columbia’s David Delahunty made an important 3-pointer to push the lead back to eight before Vermilion went on an 8-0 run to tie the game at 55 after a pair of free throws by Kuhn.
Jay Banyasz drove in for a layup to make it 57-55 and after Kuhn was called for a charge, Delahunty hit two clutch free throws to make it a four-point game with 14 seconds left.
“We kind of let them back in the game with dropped passes and our confidence went down a little bit,” Delahunty said. “They made their run. We just had to refocus and handle the adversity and step up and make big plays down the stretch to win the ballgame.”
Kuhn connected on a 3-pointer with nine seconds left to make it a one-point game and after Boey made one of two from the free throw line, Vermilion had one last chance, but Nader’s attempt from beyond the 3-point arc clanked off the front of the rim at the buzzer.
Kuhn finished with a game-high 23 points, while Nader added 20.
“It’s been a nasty four-game stretch, but I’m probably more proud of them tonight than I was in any of the three wins because of how they responded and how they got themselves back in the game,” Habermehl said. “Dead tired. They couldn’t move, but they just overcame all that.”
Severo led Columbia with 15 points — including four 3-pointers — while Delahunty added 13 and Brian Hershey made three threes to finish with nine.
“For them playing their fourth game in five nights, their kids played extremely hard,” Columbia coach Larry Babics said. “We made it a little bit too interesting. We had a pretty good lead, but we kind of just (threw) it away. In the fourth quarter, they picked up their intensity and imposed their will on us. I thought we backed away a little.”
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Columbia 60, Vermilion 58
COLUMBIA (60): Brandon Severo 5-1-15, Jay Banyasz 2-0-5, Michael Boey 3-1-9, David Delahunty 5-2-13, Kevin Simon 3-0-7, Brian Hershey 3-0-9, Brandon Heidecker 1-0-2. Totals 22-4-60.
VERMILION (58): Forrest Boyd 2-1-5, Aaron Dawson 0-1-1, Kyle Nader 7-2-20, Seth Konrad 0-1-1, Cameron Kuhn 5-11-23, Alex Nunn 0-0-0, Ross Lewis 2-0-6, Zach Myracle 1-0-2, Garrett Whitely 0-0-0. Totals 17-16-58.
Columbia 11 20 16 13 — 60
Vermilion 10 9 14 25 — 58
Three-point goals: Columbia 12-26 (Severo 4, Hershey 3, Boey 2, Banyasz, Delahunty, Simon), Vermilion 8-26 (Nader 4, Kuhn 2, Lewis 2). Field goals: Columbia 22-44 (50 percent), Vermilion 17-50 (34 percent). Free throws: Columbia 4-6 (67 percent), Vermilion 16-22 (73 percent). Rebounds: Columbia 33 (Delahunty 11), Vermilion 25 (Nader, Boyd 7). Total fouls: Columbia 18, Vermilion 15. Turnovers: Columbia 18, Vermilion 11.
Junior varsity: Vermilion, 57-54