EATON TWP. — Columbia found itself in a situation Saturday night it had yet to experience this season.
“Not until tonight,” Zach Stopper said when asked if he and his teammates had ever had to end a game without star point guard Jay Banyasz.
Banyasz, Columbia’s primary ball handler and one of the Raiders’ most reliable scorers, fouled out with 2:22 to go and his team holding a six-point lead that had dwindled from a 15-point advantage only 2½ minutes earlier.
“We all had to be strong with the ball, and be smart,” Stopper said. “We were prepared to step up.”
Step up the Raiders did, not committing a turnover the rest of the way and not permitting Midview another point as Columbia beat the host Middies 63-52 to win the championship of the 12th annual Bob DiFranco Memorial Holiday Tournament.
The victory kept Columbia undefeated through eight games. Midview fell to 5-4.
Banyasz fouled out via an offensive foul, giving the ball back to Midview and handing the Middies — who were on an 11-2 run at the time — a big window of opportunity to grab the lead.
The window slammed shut. Wes Davic, who had scored 13 straight Midview points, couldn’t get one to fall on the Middies’ ensuing possession. Stopper, who led Columbia with 17 points, scored with 1:21 to play. He hit one of a pair of free throws 28 seconds later following a technical foul.
Brandon Severo secured the victory with two successful free throws 18 seconds after that.
“We are fortunate to have other guys who can handle the ball,” Columbia coach Larry Babics said. “They remained calm and we survived. This is a big win for our program. It’s a momentum builder.”
The Raiders led the entire way. Columbia jumped ahead 11-3 and was in front 19-8 early in the second quarter.
Midview made a couple runs, cutting Columbia’s lead from 10 points to six in the last four minutes of the first half and getting as close as seven points on a 7-2 run in the third period.
“Every time we had a run, they had an answer for us,” Midview coach Troy DiFranco said. “They hit big shot after big shot. Our goal was to keep them to no more than four 3-point baskets. Their shooters would get one pass and make a three.”
The Raiders hit eight 3-pointers — Jacob Simon buried four of them, all in the second half, and finished with 16 points. Banyasz also had 16 points, 14 of them in the first half, and led Columbia with four assists.
Davic led all scorers with 27 points and all rebounders with 16. For four minutes of the last quarter Davic, a 6-foot-5 senior, was unstoppable with 13 points and five rebounds.
“The kid is a heck of a player,” Babics said of Davic. “(Midview) is a hard team to guard. They’ve got shooters and they have post people. We have been giving up about 50-52 points a game, so we were there where we needed to be on defense.”
“I was not happy with the offense in the first half,” DiFranco said. “We were too individualistic. We settled down in the second half, but we didn’t get the ball to (Davic) at the end.”
Two Middies substitutes came in to provide major contributions. Matt Randolph led Midview with four assists and scored eight points. Jack Duffner was second to Davic in points (10) and rebounds (four).
Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Columbia 63, Midview 52
COLUMBIA (63): Brandon Severo 2-2-8, Jay Banyasz 7-1-6, Jacob Simon 6-0-16, Kevin Simon 1-0-2, Zach Stopper 6-5-17, Michael Boey 1-1-4, Tyler Edmisten 0-0-0. Totals 23-9-63.
MIDVIEW (52): Wes Davic 10-6-27, Devin Dombrowski 0-0-0, Steve Gott 0-0-0, Grant Overy 1-0-3, Kyle Warner 0-2-2, Matt Randolph 3-0-8, Jacob Wells 1-0-2, Dylan Eason 0-0-0, Tyler Pasenow 0-0-0, Jack Duffner 4-2-10. Totals 19-10-52.
Columbia 14 14 20 15 — 63
Midview 8 14 14 16 — 52
Three-point goals: Columbia 8 (J. Simon 4 Severo 2, Banyasz, Boey), Midview 4 (Randolph 2, Overy, Davic). Rebounds: Columbia 21 (Banyasz, J. Simon, Stopper 4), Midview 27 (Davic 16). Turnovers: Columbia 9, Midview 18. Total fouls: Columbia 17, Midview 20. Fouled out: Banyasz, Eason.