Calaveras Enterprise

Columbia stays in the conference title hunt with back-to-back victories

Columbia College basketball beat Reedley 100-69 on Saturday night at Oak Pavilion in Sonora. Guy Dossi/Calaveras Enterprise

At this point of the season, it’s very rare to play back-to-back games. Well, because of Mother Nature, that’s what the Columbia College basketball team had to do.

On Wednesday night, the Claim Jumpers were preparing to take on West Hills Coalinga. As both teams were getting ready to play, snow began falling outside of Columbia’s Oak Pavilion in Sonora. About 25 minutes before tip-off, the campus was shut down and the game was postponed.

With the end of the season getting closer, Columbia and Coalinga needed to reschedule the game. That became much more difficult than anticipated. After multiple discussions by multiple people, it was decided that the game would be played at a neutral site.

Guy Dossi/Calaveras Enterprise

So, on Friday, Columbia met Coalinga in Visalia, to play at the College of the Sequoias. The Jumpers won 104-59.

“It was very unusual and unfortunately, we got word that the campus shut down for a light snow dusting on Wednesday,” Columbia head coach Rob Hoyt said. “Then chaos ensued trying to get the game in and there were athletic directors were saying that we’d have to forfeit. The game ended up at Sequoias yesterday, but we were willing to play outside if we had to. We just wanted to get the game in.”

Columbia didn’t have much time to rest following its 45-point victory over Coalinga. Just 24 hours later, the Jumpers were back in the gym for another important Central Valley Conference matchup. Columbia has not played in back-to-back games since taking part in the Saltwater Classic in December at Cabrillo College in Aptos.

Guy Dossi/Calaveras Enterprise

“Playing two games in a row is not necessarily tough for us because we had a couple of days of rest before it and now, we’ve got a couple of days of rest after,” Hoyt said. “I think we’re in a good spot. We did what we needed to do, and we took care of our home court.”

In Columbia’s second game in as many days, the Jumpers hit the century mark for the fourth time this season with a 100-69 win over Reedley on Saturday night at Oak Pavilion in Sonora.

Columbia dominated the game from the very beginning. Less than four minutes into the contest, the Jumpers built a 12-2 lead. Columbia sophomore guard Ahmad Jeffries was hot from 3-point land, as he drained three shots from downtown in the first half. Freshman guard Braeden Jordan scored 11 points in the opening 20 minutes, while sophomore Kai Jordan added 14 points and went 5 for 5 from the charity stripe. At halftime, the Jumpers led 52-32.

Guy Dossi/Calaveras Enterprise

Reedley started scoring more consistently in the second half, but the Jumpers didn’t let the road squad find any sort of momentum. All eight Columbia players put points on the board in the second half. Kai Jordan continued to stay in the zone, as he scored 12 more points. Freshman Dean Perry came off the bench and drained two 3-point baskets for six of his eight points. The Jumpers outscored Reedley 48-37 in the second half. Columbia finished with 11 3-point baskets and went 18 for 23 from the free throw line.

Kai Jordan made three 3-point baskets and finished with a game-high 26 points; Perry scored eight points; freshman Rashaud Bradley scored 12 points; Braeden Jordan scored 14 points; Jeffries scored 14 points and hit four shots from behind the arc; freshman Jarael Holston scored six points; sophomore phenom Jonathan Dillon finished with 12 points; and sophomore Jordan Worthy scored eight points in the 31-point victory.

“The guys who normally play very well for us have been on par,” Hoyt said. “And the guys who have had sparing minutes because of injuries, these are great games for them. They played really well last night and tonight and hopefully that carries over because we are going to need them going forward.”

Guy Dossi/Calaveras Enterprise

With five Central Valley Conference teams sitting above .500 in conference play, there is still no answer as to who will finish the season as conference champions.

“We actually don’t talk about it a lot,” Hoyt said. “When they got back from Christmas, we told them that we are entering a juggernaut of a conference in the Central Valley and we are going to put our head down and just focus on the first game, which was Sequoias back in January. At the very end of 14 games, however it winds up, we’ll look up and see where we are at. Obviously, all eight teams want to win the conference, so it’s not that great of a goal; it’s not unusual or anything. If we win the conference, great. If we don’t, we just want to be playing our best four games from now. What we have on the board is: ‘Two down, four to go.’”

Life will not get any easier for Columbia the next time the Jumpers take the court. Columbia has a tough road matchup with Merced on Feb. 14. In the first meeting between the two teams, Merced did something that not many teams are able to do, and that’s defeat Columbia inside Oak Pavilion. The Jumpers lost to Merced 69-66 on Jan. 20 in what has been their only home loss of the season.

Guy Dossi/Calaveras Enterprise

“They are very good,” Hoyt said about Merced. “In my tenure here, we’ve had trouble in that gym. Sequoias and Fresno are tough most of the time and it’s not because of the gym but because of the team. Now, Merced has a team very similar to those teams in the past. But I don’t really think it’s that big of a game. It’s just as big as tonight. We are going to put our heads down, we are going to prep, and we are going to go play.”

With four games remaining before the playoffs begin, Columbia (19-5, 7-3 CVC) will try to collect as many wins as it can not only to potentially win the CVC championship, but also to have as many home playoff games as possible.

Guy Dossi/Calaveras Enterprise

“We are probably one of two teams in Northern California who have a distinct home-court advantage,” Hoyt said.

Following the clash with Merced, Columbia will play its final road game on Feb. 17 at Porterville. The Jumpers will end the regular season with two home games. Columbia will host West Hills Lemoore on Feb. 21 and then will host Fresno City two days later.

For more pictures from Columbia vs. Reedley, click the link below.

Columbia vs. Reedley
Columbia 100, Reedley 69

Red – 32, 37 – 69
Col – 52, 48 – 100

Columbia Individual Statistics
Points – Jordan, 26; Perry, 8; Bradley, 12; B. Jordan, 14; Jeffries, 14; Holston, 6; Dillon, 12; Worthy, 8
3-point baskets – Jordan, 3; Perry, 2; Bradley, 2; B. Jordan, 2; Jeffries, 4
Free throws – Jordan. 7-7; Perry, 2-3; Bradley, 4-5; Dillon, 5-6
Fouls – Jordan, 2; Perry, 2; Bradley, 2; B. Jordan, 1; Jeffries, 2; Holston, 2; Dillon, 2; Worthy, 1

Columbia Basketball
Nov. 2 vs. Siskiyous (W) 77-62
Nov. 3 vs. Cosumnes River (W) 61-46
Nov. 4 vs. American River (W) 65-48
Nov. 11 vs. Butte (W) 76-65
Nov. 12 vs. MJC (W) 89-65
Nov. 18 vs. Cosumnes River (W) 82-81 (OT)
Nov. 25 vs. Lassen (W) 93-61
Nov. 26 vs. Folsom Lake (W) 94-89
Dec. 1 vs. Feather River (W) 98-64
Dec. 2 vs. San Mateo (W) 77-73
Dec. 3 vs. Cabrillo (L) 102-80
Dec. 7 at American River College (W) 106-54
Dec. 15 at Gavilan College (L) 82-74
Dec. 22 vs. Contra Costa (W) 100-85
Jan. 10 vs. Sequoias (W) 83-80 (OT)
Jan. 13 at Coalinga (W) 74-72
Jan. 17 at Reedley (W) 95-58
Jan. 20 vs. Merced (L) 69-66
Jan. 24 vs. Porterville (W) 72-67
Jan. 27 at Lemoore (W) 71-59
Jan. 31 at Fresno (L) 83-65
Feb. 3 at Sequoias (L) 75-62
Feb. 9 vs. Coalinga (W) 104-59
Feb. 10 vs. Reedley (W) 100-69
Feb. 14 at Merced, 5 p.m.
Feb. 17 at Porterville, 3 p.m.
Feb. 21 vs. Lemoore, 6 p.m.
Feb. 23 vs. Fresno, 6 p.m.

Central Valley Conference Standings
Fresno City 15-9 (8-2)
Columbia 19-5 (7-3)
Sequoias 19-5 (7-3)
Merced 18-6 (6-4)
Lemoore 16-7 (6-4)
Porterville 9-15 (3-7)
Reedley 6-16 (2-8)
Coalinga 7-16 (1-9)

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