NORTON — Open Door was not about to make the same mistake against Columbia.
The Raiders beat the Patriots by 17 points in the season opener in December but this time around Open Door left no doubt about who would be moving on, using a big first quarter to secure a 69-45 win in the Division IV district semifinals Tuesday at Norton High School.
The third-seeded Patriots (20-4) will take on No. 1 Richmond Heights in the final Friday at 7 p.m. Columbia finishes its season at 16-8.
“We just wanted to play together as a team and we did,” said Open Door’s Miles Hunt, who finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds, both game highs.
“Defensively, we were great. This year we’ve grown so much as teammates, as brothers. It was great just to get the win, especially with our crowd there with us.”
Open Door came charging out of the gates, allowing just one Columbia field goal over the first 6:05 as it built a 16-3 lead behind a balanced scoring attack. Trey Brooks had a couple of layups, Hunt an easy finish and a 3-pointer, and Jared Bublinec and Gavin Dobbins were able to get to the rim.
Bublinec and Brooks finished with 16 and 13 points, respectively, while Brooks also added four rebounds, two blocks, two steals and capped the first quarter with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from just past midcourt.
“Coach told us we need to move on offense,” Brooks said. “When we get stagnate, it’s easy to guard us. When we cut, move the ball and make that extra pass we get open guys, and we’re going to win like that.”
Columbia shot 3-of-11 from the field in the first quarter and was just 8-of-23 at halftime. The Raiders only connected on one 3-pointer the first half, finishing the game 4-of-23 from beyond the arc. Open Door, on the other hand, connected on 7-of-19 from 3-point range while shooting 48 percent from the field — 53 percent (15-of-28 )in the first half.
“On the defensive end, we came out with energy,” Open Door coach Todd Wright said. “I know it’s going to be a good game for us when I hear them talking over me. I felt like they communicated very well, got out on their shooters, backed off on the non-shooters and stopped them from getting to the basket. We did that with energy, and all year long that has turned into good offense for us.”
The Raiders cut the deficit down to eight early in the second quarter, going on an 8-0 run sparked by three Open Door turnovers. Adam Ross capped the run with back-to-back layups, the second set up by Jared Bycznski’s steal and midcourt feed.
But that was as close as Columbia got, as the Patriots responded with 13 unanswered points.
“I give them all the credit,” Columbia coach Larry Babics said. “We looked like we were in slow motion and they were twice as fast. They were hitting some shots and they’re hard to guard. They just played a lot better than us tonight. Once you dig yourselves into that kind of a hole, you just have to play perfect. Sometimes you have those nights, you just hope it’s not on a district floor. I’m not making any excuses, they just kicked our butts. Plain and simple.”
Open Door 69, Columbia 45
OPEN DOOR (69): Trey Brooks 5-1-13, Jared Bublinec 6-2-16, Miles Hunt 6-2-16, Carter Wright 1-4-6, Gavin Dobbins 4-0-9, Mason Wiley 1-1-3, Josh Zaborowski 1-0-2, Mark Yakobchuk 1-0-2, Tylan Neadham 1-0-2, Caleb Daniel 0-0-0. Totals 26-10-69.
COLUMBIA (45): Brandon Coleman 5-4-14, Adam Ross 3-0-6, Charlie Simon 4-0-9, Brandon Fisher 0-1-1, Bailey Coleman 0-0-0, Jared Bycznski 0-0-0, Caleb Borling 2-0-5, Reece Miller 2-0-6, Matt Pettegrew 1-0-2, Trevor Hottell 1-0-2. Totals 18-5-45.
Open Door 22 15 18 14 — 69
Columbia 8 10 11 16 — 45
Three-point goals: Open Door 7-19 (Bublinec 2, Brooks 2, Hunt 2, Dobbins), Columbia 4-23 (Miller 2, Borling, Simon). Field goals: Open Door 26-54 (48 percent), Columbia 18-57 (32 percent). Free throws: Open Door 10-11 (91 percent), Columbia 5-9 (56 percent). Rebounds: Open Door 32 (Hunt 12), Columbia 23 (Coleman 8). Total fouls: Open Door 11, Columbia 13. Fouled out: Wright. Turnovers: Open Door 12, Columbia 13.