REEDLEY The Columbia College basketball team is staying alive in the hunt for the Central Valley Conference title by winning on the road.
For the second straight game, the Claim Jumpers (16-9, 6-2 CVC) turned into road warriors, beating Reedley 75-69 just three days after winning at Modesto.
"It was a big week, and I am really pleased with the effort," Columbia coach Andy Vasher said. "We wouldn't have been alive (in the CVC race) if we had lost. This allows us to stay in the pack."
Collin Terry was the big reason Columbia managed to escape Reedley with a six-point win. After a tough first half in which Terry went scoreless and turned the ball over three times, the sophomore guard came off the bench in the second half and scored all 22 of his points on nine-for-nine shooting (including 2-for-2 from the 3-point line).
"Collin played great," Vasher said. "Really, everyone did. We seem to be playing better defense over the last five games because people are committed to helping each other out and playing together."
With the score tied 69-69 late in the game against Reedley (11-14, 3-5 CVC), Derek Olich (6 points, 4 assists) hit a 3-pointer with 14 seconds remaining to put Columbia ahead.
Kevin Massey (12 points, 8 rebounds) proceeded to ice the game by hitting both ends of a one-and-one and then forcing Reedley to make a bad pass on the ensuing inbound, leading to an Olich steal and a Terry layup as time expired.
Ben Hibbing (12 points, 6 rebounds) and Tallin Zimmer (11 points, 6 rebounds) also finished in double figures for the Jumpers.
The Jumpers return to Oak Pavilion at 7 p.m. Wednesday, when things won't get any easier as they host the first-place Fresno Rams (27-1, 7-1 CVC). In their first meeting, Fresno pulled away late for a 107-91 win on Jan. 15.
"We wanted to be in a position where we'd be close (in the standings)", Vasher said. Columbia and College of the Sequoias are in second place, trailing Fresno by one game.