Columbia's Bailey Coleman scores after a steal in the fourth quarter against Dalton. DAVID RICHARD / CHRONICLE
COLUMBIA STATION — The inside scoop on why Columbia played so much better in the second half of Friday’s Division IV sectional tournament game against Dalton was a simple one.
The Raiders actually started to go inside.
Columbia pulled out a 58-54 win after it stopped taking so many 3-pointers and started taking the ball to the basket, earning a trip to the district semifinals on Tuesday at Norton High School.
The second-seeded Raiders will see a familiar opponent in third-seeded Open Door, which beat Kidron Central Christian 68-51 Friday. Columbia beat the Patriots by 17 points in the first game of the season.
“We had the same offensive game plan in the first half, but we took a lot of bad shots and weren’t very patient at all,” Raiders coach Larry Babics said. “We knew we could get to the rim, so that’s what we came out and did in the second half.”
The Raiders jacked up 13 threes (making four) in the first half and trailed 26-25. That changed drastically in the second half when every basket the Raiders made came inside of 4 feet.
Brothers Bailey and Brandon Coleman had a distinct athletic advantage and they took full advantage of it in the second half.
Bailey had four early points in the third quarter to go with five straight points from Brandon as the Raiders opened the half on a 13-4 run.
“Coaches wanted us to take a shot if we were open, but they wanted us to attack the rim more first to get better shots,” said Bailey Coleman, who finished with 16 points. “We knew we were stronger and more athletic, so we used that to get to the rim.”
Columbia had leads as large as eight in the third quarter, but five straight points from Adam Bidlack (14 points) cut Columbia’s lead to 44-39 going into the fourth.
The Bulldogs (10-14) continued their charge, eventually taking a 49-48 lead with 3:09 left as Joey Delassandro (16 points) and Jalen Wenger (8 points) scored four points each.
Brandon Coleman answered 17 seconds later with a driving layin for a 50-49 lead that the Raiders didn’t give up the rest of the way.
“We just had to trust ourselves and believe in what we were doing,” said Brandon Coleman, who had 15 points. “For sure, our experience made a difference down the stretch. We’ve all been through this and know what to expect. It helped us for sure.”
Columbia spent a lot of time moving the ball and getting to the free throw line in the final 1:34, hitting 6-of-12 from the line.
Adam Ross led all scorers with 17 for the Raiders.
“Their zone traps really gave us problems,” Dalton coach Matt Monter said. “It’s not something they’ve done a lot this year and it affected us. Down the stretch, their seniors made some plays and you have to give hem credit, they’ve been through this and we’re still a really young team. It made a difference at the end.”
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Columbia 58, Dalton 54
DALTON (54): Adam Bidlack 6-2-14, Jaiden Malone 1-2-5, Joey Dalessandro 5-5-16, Jalen Wenger 3-2-8, Chance Green 2-4-8, Ezra Miller 1-0-3. Totals 18-15-54.
COLUMBIA (58): Jared Bycznski 0-0-0, Adam Ross 6-5-17, Brandon Fisher 2-0-5, Bailey Coleman 5-4-16, Charlie Simon 1-0-2, Caleb Boring 1-0-3, Brandon Coleman 5-5-15. Totals 20-14-58.
Dalton 12 14 13 15 — 54
Columbia 13 12 19 14 — 58
Three-point goals: Dalton 3-12 (25 percent, Malone, Dalessandro, Miller), Columbia 4-14 (29 percent, Ba. Coleman 2, Fisher, Borling). Field goals: Dalton 18-37 (49 percent), Columbia 20-47 (43 percent). Free throws: Dalton 15-17 (88 percent), Columbia 14-22 (64 percent). Rebounds: Dalton 24, Columbia 26. Turnovers: Dalton 15, Columbia 10. Fouled out: Bidlack