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COLUMBUS -- The Columbus High boys christened their new gym with an offensive explosion in a 93-58 win over South Sioux City on Dec. 2.

On Friday, the Discoverers (11-9) closed out their first season in the new gym by matching their next best offensive output of the season in a 76-59 victory over Blair (12-9).

“This time of year, you’ll take wins anyway you can get them,” Columbus head coach Jimmy Motz said. “To cap out the home season with that kind of effort, we’ll take it.”

A third-quarter blitz created all the separation the Discoverers needed. Columbus outscored Blair 17-6 in the period to turn a close game into a rout.

“We established a tone in the third quarter,” Motz added. “That was the difference in the game.”

The first quarter was back and forth as neither team could stop the other. The teams seesawed into the lead until Andy Pike hit a step-back 3-pointer as time expired in the period to give Columbus an 18-17 lead.

The Discoverers never trailed again.

Columbus made eight baskets in the first quarter, Pike’s trey was only the second to come outside of the paint.

“I thought we attacked with a purpose,” Motz said. “Michael (Koch) got it going early on.”

Koch, a Telegram Super Senior, scored nine of his game-high 24 points in the opening quarter.

After an up-and-down first quarter, the second period got off to a much slower start. Neither team scored for the first 2 1/2 minutes. Koch finally broke the ice with his fifth field goal of the game. The Discoverers were off and running from there.

Back-to-back 3-pointers from Cole Wilcox off the bench put Columbus up 33-27 and the Discoverers carried a 37-32 lead into the break.

From the first possession of the third quarter, Columbus had a different intensity. Pike’s second trey of the game followed by a layup from Koch quickly pushed the lead to double figures.

Blake Petersen, who finished with 21 points, ignited the crowd with a one-handed dunk to make it 46-34. With Koch, Pike and starting point guard Jaz Ackerson, on the bench late in the third quarter with foul trouble, Motz turned to his role players.

Landon Thompson, Cole Wilcox and Curtis Briggs not only maintained the double-digit lead, but actually extended it to 51-36.

“They were huge,” Motz said. “We had some punch from our bench. I was really pleased with what those guys. We got contributions from a lot of different people and we’re going to have to have that to make a run.”

Petersen’s second dunk of the quarter put Columbus up 53-38 and the Discoverers went to the fourth quarter ahead 54-38.

Another basket by Koch and Petersen’s third slam of the game opened the fourth quarter and ballooned the lead to 20, 58-38.

Blair responded with an 8-1 run and eventually cut the Columbus lead to 12, but the Discoverers regrouped to close out the win.

Nathan Slusarski added 12 points for Columbus.

“All five of our seniors tonight brought it,” Motz said. “I think there’s a sense of urgency now because a week from now, it’ll be down to eight teams left. Hopefully we can keep this momentum going.”

Joe Manchester led Blair with 22 points and Garrett Thomsen added 16 points.

The Discoverers hit the road Saturday to play Elkhorn.


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