Columbia College took care of its own business, got some help and now will host a second-round game Wednesday in the Northern California mens basketball playoffs.
Had the first round gone as seeded in Columbias eight-team bracket, the No. 10 Claim Jumpers, who beat No. 23 Hartnell of Salinas 77-66 Friday night at Oak Pavilion, would be journeying to Santa Rosa for the second round. However, No. 7 Santa (23-8) dropped a 73-71 stunner to No. 26 Butte of Oroville (13-16) on Saturday night, meaning Columbia will get a bonus home game.
It doesnt matter what youre seeded .... you have to win ballgames, Columbia coach Andy Vasher said.
A trip to Santa Rosa wouldnt have been daunting for the Claim Jumpers (24-6), who won handily there early in the season. But a home against against a team with a sub-.500 record is preferable by any measure to a road game against a team 15 games over.
The Columbia-Butte winner will play Saturday for a berth in the State Final Eight against either No. 2 Shasta (27-5) or No. 15 De Anza of Cupertino (23-9), who meet Wednesday in Redding. Columbia has beaten Shasta twice this season, so it appears Columbia has a pretty good shot at making it to the Final Eight for the first time in six years and the ninth time overall.
We were unhappy with our seeding, but not with our draw, Vasher said.
Forward Derrick Stewart scored 23 points, center Rick Lueneberg 20 and forward-center Doug Carlson 12 for Columbia against Hartnell. Lueneberg scored 14 of his points in the first half, which ended with Columbia leading 37-33, and Stewart scored 14 of his in the second half.