OMAHA — Wins are most important to Columbus High right now.
Head coach Jimmy Motz doesn’t care how the Discoverers (10-8) get them, as long as there’s a check in the win column at the end of the night.
Still dealing with a short bench, Columbus ground out a 46-34 road victory Friday over Omaha Gross (6-14).
“It was ugly,” Motz said. “But no one’s going to care next week how you won.”
Trailing 34-33 midway through the fourth quarter, Telegram Super Senior Michael Koch came up with a steal and breakaway layup to give Columbus a lead it wouldn’t relinquish as the Discoverers ended the game on a 13-0 run.
Koch finished with 18 points to lead Columbus.
“He worked,” Motz said. “He was a difference-maker on the court tonight. He played more poised and didn’t try to force it as much.”
It was the Discoverers’ defense that won the game. Running its 1-3-1 defense, Columbus made life tough on the Cougars.
“The biggest thing is we held them to three single-digit quarters,” Motz said. “We took away some of the things they do well and did a very good job of making it tough for them to score.”
The Discoverers sputtered in the first quarter, trailing 9-4 after eight minutes, but it wasn’t because of poor play. They simply missed shots.
“We didn’t panic,” Motz said.
Columbus got its offense going a little better in the second quarter to take a 16-11 lead at the break. Gross, which has lost five games to rated teams by five points or fewer, hung around, as it typically does.
The Cougars trailed 30-27 after the third quarter and opened the fourth quarter on a 7-3 run to take a one-point lead. They didn’t score again as the Discoverers locked in defensively down the stretch.
Columbus hurt itself at the free-throw line in recent games, but went 11 for 12 on Friday to help seal the win.
The Discoverers face another test Saturday, coming home to play No. 7 Norris, a winner in four of its last five games, including victories over No. 5 Bennington and No. 8 Gretna.
“They’re one of the hottest teams in our class,” Motz said. “It’ll be a postseason-type game.”