Gross sinks Discoverers from deep
Omaha Gross Catholic sank six third-quarter 3-pointers, Columbus High went six minutes without a point from the third into the fourth quarter and the Cougars handed the Discovers their ninth home loss of the season in a 52-39 final on Friday night.
CHS held a two-point halftime lead, extended that lead on the first possession of the second half then traded baskets with Gross in a game that was shaping up to be a whoever-has-the-ball-last type of game.
But while Columbus was scoring from inside the arc, Gross was hitting from outside. Then came a scoring drought and the elimination of any hope for a first home win of the season.
CHS dropped to 2-15 overall and is back in action for the third day straight on Saturday at Norris.
“We just stopped scoring. We got stuck on 32 when it was 32-32 and it got to be 35, 38, 41,” coach Jimmy Motz said. “Gameplan, we focused on Powers, because he’s one of the best scorers in the state. We made him earn everything he got tonight. We held him to 11. If you tell me we would have held him to 11, I would have liked our chances. But they had some guys step up and make some shots that don’t normally shoot it.
Powers is one of the top scorers in the state of Nebraska regardless of classification. At just over 22 points per game, he’s eighth among all players.
CHS defenders held him to exactly half of that total, but players like Colby Schrage and Thomas Anderson made up the difference.
Both average under three points per contest. Schrage had 12 while Anderson added 10.
Anderson stuck two 3s in the third quarter, Schrage had one, Powers had one and two other players who’ve only made five combined all season added two more.
Columbus enjoyed its first halftime lead at home this season 20-18 but found itself in a 43-32 hole after three quarters thanks to the six 3-pointers and an 11-2 Gross run to finish the frame.
The Discoverers then missed their first three shots of the fourth, turned it over twice and went 0 for 2 at the line. The gap grew to 50-32 before Sam Kwapnioski finally hit a Columbus 3.
“You’ve got to give them credit. A couple of those kids stepped up and hit some big ones,” Motz said. I thought we had good looks. You’ve just got to be able to score, and we couldn’t score.
“You can’t win games only scoring 39.”
THURSDAY: CRETE 55, COLUMBUS BOYS 50: Columbus had three scorers in double figures but couldn’t make any plays down the stretch and fell to 2-14. Crete freshman Jaxon Weyand had 27 for the Cardinals.
“I thought we played hard, our effort was good and we competed hard, but kind of like (Friday) we’ve got to make some plays,” Motz said. “We’ve got to make some shots and make free throws.
“Crete has a really good freshman. He made us...for him to come out like he did, was pretty impressive. We didn’t take away some things he does well.”
THURSDAY - CRETE 50, COLUMBUS GIRLS 22: CHS failed to score more than seven points in any one quarter and fell to 2-14 on the year. Columbus trailed 15-7 in the second, hit back-to-back 3s but went cold as Crete went on 10-0 run to end the first half.
Morgan Maly had 17 for the Cardinals while teammate Hannah Newton sank five 3-pointers. Columbus was led by Macee Trotta with 11 points.
Crete hi seven 3-pointers and shot 50 percent overall.
“I think we helped a little too much off Maly, but if you’re going to make sure you try and shut down her, others are going to get a look,” coach Dave Licari said.
“They’re a really solid team. We handled their pressure pretty well. The girls did a really good job attacking the press and kind of forced them out of it. I just thought, it’s kind of weird to say, but in a 50-22 game, I thought we did a lot of good things.”
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com