By Ryan Jones
COLUMBIANA — Playing for the second time in as many days, the Columbiana High boys basketball team looked to bounce back from a tough loss at Lake Center Christian.
The Clippers did just that with a 79-50 victory over Sebring in a contest that pitted Inter Tri-County League Tier One versus ITCL Tier Two teams.
Columbiana found itself without the services of head coach Eric Witmer, who was ejected from the Lake Center contest.
Assistant coach Grant Spaite took Witmer’s place on the bench.
“I was interested to see how we would handle playing on back-to-back days,” Spaite said. “We didn’t have much time to recover from last night’s game which was very physical. The guys came ready to play tonight and I thank them for that.
“I thought the guys were very unselfish,” Spaite said. “We ran the floor and distributed the ball well.”
Columbiana (4-3) forced 30 turnovers and had 22 assists.
“We came at them with different types of half court pressure,” Spaite said. “I thought we rotated well tonight after the initial trap.
“Last night we chased a lot, tonight we trapped and rotated and we came up with a lot of steals. When we didn’t get steals we forced them to take some quick shots.”
Columbiana fell behind 9-2 in the first quarter before taking its first lead, 12-11, when Logan Goist, who totaled 14 points and 12 assists, scored on a rebound putback inside.
The Clippers held an 18-16 lead after the first quarter and outscored the Trojans 24-13 in the second.
Nick Good, who led the Clippers with 19 points, canned all there of his three-point goals in the first half.
“Nick has been a little banged up the past few games,” Spaite said. “I thought he played well tonight. He found his shot in the first half and played great defense.”
Sebring coach Brian Clark said his squad was overwhelmed by Columbiana’s defense.
“The bottom line is that we didn’t handle any of their pressure,” Clark said. “The game was won in the first five feet after half court.
“They came at us and we weren’t able to get into any sort of offense,” Clark said. “We out-rebounded them 35-17 and shot more free throws than they did, but it didn’t matter who won those stats because we turned it over for lay-ups.”
Columbiana took a 42-29 lead into halftime and scored the first eight points of the third period to make the score 50-29.
The Clippers scored all four baskets by way of Sebring turnover and ensuing lay-ups.
“I called two timeouts, but at that point there wasn’t a bandage big enough to slow them down,” Clark said. “They really broke the game wide open with that run. Coming out of halftime, it was a disappointing effort.”
Goist and Good led the Clippers with six steals each while Tyler Denmeade scored 16 points and Luke Barker added 11.
Dakota Wagner had 18 points and eight rebounds for Sebring (4-4), while Seamus Johnson netted 16 points and dished out four assists.