Like the wave of a conductor's wand, the buzzer at Southwell Complex signaled Columbia College's eight-piece band to begin heralding the Cougars' 74-46 win over Baker (Kan.) University on Saturday night.
The Cougars had a conductor of their own: tournament MVP Brett Hoskins, who led Columbia College to the best record at the Best Western Thanksgiving Classic with two wins.
Hoskins scored 21 points on 66-percent shooting, went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line and notched four defensive rebounds and an assist.
Columbia College has gone 4-1 in a blistering eight-day stretch , including its only loss, an 86-85 overtime defeat to William Carey (Miss.) College on Nov. 21 at the Daytona Mitsubishi Shootout. That was the only game in the two tournaments in which Hoskins didn't notch double figures.
"Having Brett in the starting lineup has changed our team drastically," coach Bob Burchard said Saturday.
Burchard placed the senior guard in the starting lineup after his 18-point performance in the Cougars' 81-55 victory over Graceland (Iowa) University at Daytona Mitsubishi Shootout on Nov. 22. In the next two games, he scored 10 points and 21 points.
Sterling College finished the Best Western tournament 0-2. Baker University ended the weekend 1-1 and dropped its overall record to 2-5. Harris-Stowe State (Mo.) University finished 1-1.
Each school had a representative named to the five-member all-classic team: Terry Hollins (Harris-Stowe), Cody Brazelton (Sterling), Heath Baird (Baker), Brett Shaw (Baker) and Jason Ellis (Columbia).
But Hoskins was the clear star of the tournament.
"I am pretty happy about it (winning MVP)." Hoskins said. "There were three or four guys who could have gotten it, so it was a nice honor. I'll probably give the plaque to my mom."
Columbia College improved its overall record to 9-1. The Cougars return to Southwell Complex on Dec. 6 to host an exhibition game for the Norm Stewart Classic, a cancer fundraiser.