FREEBURG • A few quick flicks of his shooting hand and freshman Jordan Holmes turned a close game into a comfortable victory as Columbia beat top-seeded Piasa Southwestern, 68-51, in the championship game in the 58th Freeburg-Columbia boys basketball Holiday Tournament at Freeburg High School on Tuesday.
Holmes, who finished with a game-high 23 points including five 3-pointers, buried a pair of those 3s to fuel a 10-0 surge to start the half that turned a 29-25 Eagles halftime lead into a 39-25 bulge. It was more than enough since the closest Southwestern would get the rest of the way was 10 points.
"They were running that triangle-and-two (defense) on us," said Jonathan Holmes, older brother of Jordan. "So, it was nice to have an extra playmaker. He's (Jordan) awesome. I've seen him do that plenty of times. He could easily score 20 points every game if that's what we needed."
In addition, the younger Holmes also made all six of his free throws in the fourth quarter as Southwestern (12-3) went into extreme foul mode to try and get back in the game. Columbia made 13 of its 14 attempts total in the final frame.
"They did what we needed to do (to open the half)," Southwestern coach Jason Darr said. "That young kid hit some big shots. What is he a freshman? They have a lot of good young players on that team. We were guarding some other threats and left him alone and he made us pay."
Columbia coach Mark Sandstrom figured his youthful team had the edge in athleticism, quickness and was in better shape and decided to go for the gusto in the second half.
"Teams that are in better shape, it usually shows up in the middle of the third quarter," Sandstrom said. "I thought that is where we could take advantage. It just happened a little earlier."
The tournament championship is the fifth in history for the Eagles (9-3) and first since 2008. The Eagles' tourney title also ended the three-year grip Alton Marquette had on the championship trophy.
Junior Korbin Farmer added 16 points for Columbia, while Jonathan Holmes chipped in 14. Junior Drew Huebner played tough defense and also put in seven points.
Junior Tyler Rose led the Piasa Birds with 14 points, while senior Briston Johnson had 12 points. Seniors Andrew Fry and Blake Lawson added eight points apiece.
CIVIC MEMORIAL 40, ALTON MARQUETTE 33
For senior Jakob Lowrance, the low-scoring victory against the Explorers in the third-place game was sweet redemption after losing to them on the Eagles' home court earlier this month.
"I'm really happy we beat them," Lowrance said. "But I wish it would have been in the championship game instead of the third-place game. The last time we played them I didn't have a very good game. I'm not very fond of them, so this feels great."
Lowrance made sure CM (8-5) would come out on top. He scored a game-high 21 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. He received plenty of help from freshman JaQuan Adams, who has been a revelation in this tournament, with his eight points.
"They were frustrating us in the first half," CM coach Doug Carey said. "I think the game turned because we were more aggressive in the second half. It wasn't pretty basketball. (Marquette coach) Steve (Medford) knows what I'm going to do and I know what he's going to do. It cancels out, but our aggressiveness is what helped us breakthrough."
Junior Shandon Boone had 15 points for Marquette (9-4). Senior Ben Sebacher added seven points.
WATERLOO 47, SPARTA 33
Senior Sam Dodd had nine points and senior Lance Mueller added eight points to lift the Bulldogs past Sparta in the fifth-place game.
Senior Ryan Aycock chipped in seven points for Waterloo (6-7). Senior Seth Ferguson had 13 points for Sparta.
Waterloo took an 18-8 lead after the first quarter and continued to build on it throughout the game. It never held less than a double-digit lead after the six minute mark of the second quarter.
TRIAD 57, FREEBURG 52
Sophomore Noah Moss scored 22 points as the Knights edged the tournament host Midgets for seventh place.
Junior Logan Buerck had 12 points for Triad (3-10), which has won two of three. Sophomores Brendan Grigg and Jeron Pino combined for 17 points for the Knights.
Senior Jacob Mueller had a game-high 28 points to pace the Midgets (7-6), which has lost three consecutive games for the first time this season.
VALMEYER 54, LEBANON 49
Senior Ryan Unterseh had a team-high 16 points and senior Zach Williams had 15 points to help the Pirates edge the Greyhounds for ninth.
Senior Eric Smith also reached double figures for Valmeyer with 11 points. Senior Zachary Grob had 17 points for Lebanon (2-8), while junior Noah Reinneck and freshman Logan Schieppe combined for 17 points.
Valmeyer (7-6) climbed above .500 with its second consecutive victory.
LOVEJOY 48, DUPO 45
Freshman Dominique Perry had 16 points and senior Arland Paulette added 15 points to help the Wildcats earn their first victory of the season and slip past the Tigers.
Antonio Cozart had 18 points and 13 rebounds for Dupo (1-11). The victory improved Lovejoy to 1-9.