Columbia College began conference play Thursday night for both the women’s and men’s basketball teams.
The Cougars faced American Midwest Conference opponent Harris-Stowe State University at the Southwell Complex. After a long evening of basketball, CC has a lot to look forward to and a lot to address in its futures. Here’s how both of the teams fared against the Hornets.
Columbia women’s basketball dominates Harris-Stowe
In an absolutely shutdown performance, the Cougars beat the Hornets 79-41.
As the game started, Harris-Stowe got out to an early 5-2 lead in the opening minutes. The Hornets were coming at the Cougars hard with fast breaks and driving towards the basket. But CC never lost their composure. The Cougars tried something new this game, switching from its typical man-to-man coverage to a zone defense that took some getting used to.
But as the Cougars began getting into a rhythm and communicating with one another, the zones started to work their magic. The Hornets would try to run offensive plays but would simply get smothered by the Cougars’ all encompassing defensive pressure. And from its defensive play, CC was able to capitalize and score on the offensive end. Soon, the Cougars had a 19-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Hornets were never able to regain their footing in the match.
Harris-Stowe turned the ball over 24 times and made only 15 of its 62 field goals. Columbia came away with a total of 21 assists, 16 steals and 31 of its 68 field goal attempts.
“I loved how we weathered the storm. I loved our energy on the defensive end tonight. We played extremely hard on that side. And when we play defense that hard, it turns into great things on the offense,” said Possail. “We knew early that there would be some adjustments going. It just took us a second to figure out where we needed to be on the floor.”
Although the zone was successful, Possail isn’t going to use it too often. He says that the team still favors a man to man approach on most nights. But it’s nice to know that they have the zone in their back pocket.
The system also allowed for Columbia’s Raegan Wieser to shine, leading all scorers with 25 points.
“Right now our team is working really well together. When we get it inside and are kicking it back out, it makes for a much easier look,” said Wieser. “It took us a little bit to figure out, but once we got into it and started communicating, it looks crazy. When I was on the bench, it was kinda scary to look at.”
With this blowout win, the Cougar’s improve to 5-0 on the season. Columbia’s next game is against conference opponent Hannibal-Lagrange University at 1 p.m. Saturday in Hannibal, Mo.
Harris-Stowe men’s basketball beats CC in a back and forth game
While CC’s women’s team was able to get the win, the men’s team lost a close game later in the evening.
While at one point Columbia held a 15 point lead, the game was mostly a back and forth affair that the Hornets were able to finish for an 83-82 win. The men also started out slow getting out scored early on 8-2. But through some gritty performances, the Cougars were able to fight their way back into the contest.
As momentum built on Columbia’s side, the team was able to knock down key three point shots and make their trips to the free throw line count. By the end of the first half, the Cougars had a 34-30 lead over the Hornets. While Harris-Stowe was shooting better overall than Columbia, the Hornets were only making 25% of their free throws and 22% of their three point shots.
Midway through the second half, Harris-Stowe began to garner momentum. The Hornets came out and started hitting shots from beyond the arc, pulling ahead for a 67-66 lead. The Cougars were able to keep it close with a strong defensive performance, but ultimately CC had no answer for Harris’ three point shots.
In the games final moments, with three seconds left, Harris-Stowe scored again from beyond the arc to take a 83-82 lead over Columbia.
”I was really proud of our effort on both ends. It was just one of those 50/50 games that just didn’t go our way at the end. We just needed one or two more play to go our way,” said Brock. “I’m happy with the play of our team. We played hard and we competed. This is just one of twenty two conference games that we have here over a long season. So now we just have to bounce back and try to get one.”
Columbia College will next battle Hannibal-Lagrange University at 3 p.m. Saturday in Hannibal, Missouri.