BEATRICE — Poor second halves doomed the Columbus High boys and girls basketball teams Friday at Beatrice.

The CHS boys led after a low-scoring first half, but couldn’t match the Orangemen’s energy in the second half of a 44-40 loss.

“A poor week of practice led to this,” Columbus head coach Jimmy Motz said. “We struggled to score and didn’t finish plays.”

Jaz Ackerson scored a team-high 12 points for the Discoverers, who led 8-1 after the first quarter and didn’t allow a field goal until late in the first half.

“We had opportunities to bust it open,” Motz said. “We just got outplayed. It’s disappointing because we have a group that’s been there.”

Beatrice was eventually able find a rhythm offensively, opening up a 35-28 lead in the fourth quarter. Columbus clawed its way back to within 41-40 late in the game.

After a pair of Beatrice free throws, Andy Pike, who scored eight points for CHS, had a look at a game-tying 3-pointer, but it was off the mark.

Michael Koch added eight points for the Discoverers.

Motz said there wasn’t much positive to take away from the performance. The best thing is his team has an opportunity to forget this one quickly and play better Saturday against South Sioux City in the home opener.

“This one game won’t define us,” he said. “But it was a disappointing way to start.”

The Beatrice girls ran away from the Discoverers in the second half of a 64-38 game.

Columbus trailed by just two points at halftime, 23-21, but was outscored 41-17 in the final 16 minutes.

“They started to attack us more defensively and spread out their zone,” Columbus head coach Dave Licari said.

A long CHS scoring drought gave the Orangemen the breathing room needed to pull away.

Regi Zakrzewski scored a team-high 10 points for the Discoverers. Aspen Luebbe had eight points and Bailey Keller added six points and five rebounds.

Columbus faces a tall task Saturday in its home opener against defending Class B state champion South Sioux City.

The Cardinals, the top-ranked team this season, return one of the best players in the state in junior McKenna Sims, as well as a host of talent around her.

To hang with South Sioux City, Licari said it will start on the defensive end.

“They transition really well and love to push the pace, so we’ll have to hustle back and get set on defense,” he said.

The girls game begins at 3:45 p.m. at Columbus High School with the boys game to follow.

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