Junior Jared Kass. (Josh Tu’21/Staff)
On Wednesday, January 29, the Columbus Academy boys basketball team looked to build off a recent win against rival Bexley with a home game against Watkins Memorial that started off scoring efficiently, leading 12-17 at the end of the first quarter. Academy slowed the Warriors to just six in the second, making it 19-23 in favor of the visitors at the half. In the second half, Watkins maintained a steady lead throughout, taking the game 41-53.
On Friday, January 31, CA honored its four senior players, David Cooperman, Josh Murry, Mitch Priest, and Carter Warstler, as well as senior team manager Ryan Hunker, before taking on Wellington.
With both student sections roaring, Wellington found themselves in foul trouble early with 8 fouls in the first 6 minutes. The game started going back and forth, with each team scoring 10 in the first. The referee’s whistle kept blowing in the second, as both teams were in the double bonus with 10+ fouls near the end of the half. Wellington hit a late 3 to take a 20-23 lead going into the break.
The second half started with a quick 3 from Wellington, followed by an immediate answer 3 from Tanner Compton’22. Wellington hit another, sparking a run, jumping to a 25-38 lead. Back to back 3’s from Compton cut the Jaguars lead to 7 at the end of the third, 31-38. Wellington had no intention of slowing down, hitting three 3’s in a row to start the final period, while Academy converted some inside shots, making it 37-47 with just over 4 minutes to go. The game went back and forth from here on out, as yet another Wellington 3 put the visitors up 43-54 with 2 minutes remaining. Following CA fouls, Wellington handed the Vikes a 45-61 loss.
On Saturday, February 1, CA hosted Cleveland’s Western Reserve Academy which touted the number 3 overall player in the nation for the Class of 2022 in Chris Livingston.
Academy was up to the challenge, with Warstler blocking an early dunk attempt from Livingston, and outscoring Western Reserve 11-9 in the first. Livingston also found himself in foul trouble early, committing three in the first. Academy came out strong in the second, keeping the opponents at bay and holding a two-point lead, 22-20 with 4 minutes to go in the half. Western Reserve seemed to be a one-man show, as Livingston scored 16 of their first 22. The Vikes took advantage of the star’s foul trouble and attacked the paint, knowing he couldn’t foul. CA heated up, going on a 12-2 run to end the half, making it 34-22.
The Pioneers wouldn’t go down without a fight, as Livingston hit a quick 3 followed by a stop and an and-1 layup, making it a 6-point game in just 1 minute into the second half.
A Compton 3 helped steady the Vikes, putting them up 37-30 halfway through the 3rd. The Pioneers ran together, catching up to the Vikes after Livingston sunk 2 free throws to put the visitors ahead 47-48 shortly into the 4th.
The teams traded baskets for the remainder of the game, with a late Viking basket putting them up 59-57. Western Reserve put the ball in the hands of Livingston with 10 seconds remaining and a chance to win the game.
With Junior Jared Kass guarding him, Livingston stepped back for a deep 2 as the clock wound down but narrowly missed. The Pioneers grabbed the rebound with a second remaining, and a foul was quickly called on the Vikes, giving Western Reserve two free throws and a chance to tie the game up. They missed the first, and got a lane violation on the second, putting an end to the game and giving the Vikes a huge win.
The Vikes hope to expand on this victory with a game at Whitehall on Saturday, February 8.