COLUMBUS — Blake Petersen’s 3-pointer to open the second half had Columbus High rolling.
Then Seward switched to a 1-3-1 zone defense and everything changed.
Petersen’s trey put the Discoverers (4-3) up 32-18 on their home court. The ninth-ranked Bluejays (6-1) outscored Columbus 39-14 the rest of the way Tuesday night for a 57-46 win.
“I was really disappointed in our lack of competitiveness in the second half,” Columbus head coach Jimmy Motz said. “This exposed some things that we need to address.”
Columbus turned the ball over on four consecutive possessions after going up by 14, its largest lead of the game, sparking a 20-2 Seward run as the Bluejays stormed back to go ahead 38-34, their first lead since the opening seconds of the second quarter.
“They got us standing around,” Motz said. “We were so sloppy and careless with the ball. You can’t win doing that.”
The Discoverers had a chance to tie the game in the fourth quarter, trailing 43-41, but failed to score on a 4-on-1 fast break. Seward responded with six straight points to pull away.
Derek Holtorf scored eight of his 12 points in the final eight minutes for Seward. Nate Lliteras had a game-high 23 points for the Bluejays.
“We didn’t defend well in the second half,” Motz said. “It was as bad as it’s been all season. They set the tone in the second half and we didn’t respond.”
It was a complete turnaround from the first half, when Columbus looked like it was going to run away with the game.
After Seward knocked down three early triples to take a 13-7 first-quarter lead, the Discoverers settled in on defense.
Columbus scored the final five points of the first quarter and first nine points of the second quarter to take a 21-13 lead. After Seward went up by six in the first quarter, the Discoverers didn’t give up another field goal until there was less than two minutes left in the half.
“We dictated a lot of the action and were flying around,” Motz said.
Telegram Super Senior Michael Koch drew a foul at the buzzer and knocked in a free throw to give Columbus a 29-18 halftime lead.
After Petersen’s bucket to open the second half, it was all Bluejays.
Koch scored a team-high 15 points for Columbus and Jaz Ackerson added 10.
The Discoverers are off until after the holiday break. They play Dec. 28 against North Platte in the first round of the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament in North Platte.