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Posted on Wed. Jan. 02, 2013 - 12:01 am EDT

Eagles feel at home in 1st game at Coliseum

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Against an unfamiliar foe in a unfamiliar place, Columbia City came up with a typical result in the Super Hoops Classic on Tuesday.

The Eagles improved to 11-1 with a 59-48 win over Northridge at Memorial Coliseum.

“We are 25 minutes away, and we have never played in this building before,” Columbia City coach Chris Benedict said of the Coliseum. “We just wanted to take advantage of that opportunity to play here.”

Columbia City played the third game of the annual Super Hoops Classic, which was played at the venerable venue for the first time after years at college campus sites.

“You don’t get to play in an arena like this very often,” Eagles senior Derek Hinen said. “It is a cool environment.”

To get a chance to play at the Coliseum, though, the Eagles had to play five games in five days after four games in the Carroll Shootout Dec. 28-29.

“All in all it was a good effort for as many games we have played in a short amount of time,” Chris Benedict said. “The guys have logged a lot of minutes. You want to see how tough your guys are, where you play a number of games with little rest.”

Columbia City fell for the first time this year in pool play in the Carroll Shootout on Dec. 28 against Munster.

The Eagles finished the Carroll Shootout with wins over Heritage 52-39 and NHC rival Carroll 45-43 for a fifth-place finish.

“Playing Munster puts us in a situation where you are going to find out where you are at,” Chris Benedict said. “We have had a good start to our season, but playing against someone who is going to do some different things, and some things you are not doing particularly well.”

Before the 66-54 loss to the Mustangs, Columbia City had won its first eight games. Playing this tough stretch, though, can be beneficial to the Eagles come postseason tournament time.

“It is tough, but it prepares us for a grind mentally and physically you are going to play two games a day in the regional,” Hinen said. “It gets us ready for a tournament run we are hoping to have.”

Hinen led the Eagles (11-1) with 22 points. Derek Benedict had 11 points, while Daniel Woll added 10. Austin Paul and Jonathon Simmons each had eight points.

“The other four guys on the court are amazing shooters and scorers, so they have to stay out on them,” Hinen said.

“If I can beat my man, I can get to the rim. It is pretty easy to get to the lane with guys like that around you.”

Columbia City led 29-19 at halftime before Northridge cut the margin to 51-46 in the fourth quarter before the Eagles finished the game on an 8-2 run.

Northridge (3-6) got 12 points from Nate Ritchie.

gjones@jg.net


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