COLUMBUS — Columbus High had no answer to Seward's big front line Tuesday.
Camryn Opfer and Kayla Luebbe combined to outscore the Discoverers in the Bluejays' 52-37 victory at Columbus High School.
Opfer, a 6-foot junior, scored a game-high 24 points and Luebbe, who stands 6-foot-1, added 14.
“Defensively, it was tough,” Columbus head coach Dave Licari said. “They made a concerted effort getting inside on us. I probably should’ve had our guards double down on them sooner than we did. It’s easier said than done when you have 5-foot-6 on 6-foot.”
A slow start put Columbus in an early hole.
By the time the Discoverers (1-5) adjusted to Seward's length, it was too big of a deficit to overcome.
The Bluejays (5-2), rated fifth in Class B, jumped out to a 14-5 lead after the first quarter.
Emily Goc knocked down the first of her two 3-pointers to start the second quarter, pulling Columbus within six, but the Discoverers only managed two points the rest of the quarter as Seward extended its lead to 24-10 at halftime.
“We were just way too passive,” Licari said of the offensive struggles. “Some of it was their defense, but a lot of it was us. I thought we had some good looks at the basket that we didn’t shoot.”
The Discoverers were too passive most of last season, but hadn’t had that problem yet this season, so it was concerning for Licari to see.
Seward’s size and 2-3 zone defense got into Columbus’ head.
The Discoverers found an offensive rhythm in the second half, scoring 27 points.
“In the second half, the girls were much more aggressive and it showed,” Licari said.
But the Discoverers could never slow Seward's post players. Columbus simply matched Seward’s offense.
The Discoverers cut the Bluejays' lead to 10 in the fourth quarter on Goc's second trey, but Seward responded with five points in a row to go back up 46-31 and seal the victory. A couple of unforced turnovers cost Columbus a chance at getting the deficit down to single digits.
A tough early-season schedule doesn’t let up as the Discoverers take on Omaha Marian, a Class A ratings contender, at home on Thursday. Columbus beat the Crusaders a season ago on the road so Licari is hopeful his team comes out confident.
“We went and did what we needed to do to come away with a win,” Licari said of last season’s matchup. “Hopefully the girls will come out and look to be aggressive like they were in the second half tonight.”