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Lutheran West 53, Columbia 48
By Mark Fenske  | staff
Friday, March 2, 2012

Lutheran West’s playoff run continued last night in shocking fashion as they dominated the Columbia Raiders in the fourth quarter after being beaten for the first three. LW, down 43-33 going into the fourth, outscored the fourth seeded Raiders 20-5 in the final eight minutes to bring home their first Sectional Championship since 2009. The Longhorns, advance to play the number one seeded St. Peter Chanel Firebirds. Chanel, who is 19-3 on the season, is ranked #14 in the area Plain Dealer poll.
LW’s dominance in the fourth quarter was as much to do with energy and aggressiveness as it was anything. West outrebounded their opponents 10-5 in the final period and forced four more turnovers than the Raiders. Those two categories resulted in LW taking nine more shots—17 in total for LW in the quarter compared to only eight for Columbia. 
It took LW only 2:21 to cut Columbia’s 10 point fourth quarter lead to two points at 45-43. Columbia scored their final points of the game on a dive by Jacob Simon with 4:32 left in the game to put the lead to 48-43. After sophomore Chris Scott turned the ball over at half court on the ensuing possession, junior Chris Ranc immediately stole the ball back and scored on a layup, cutting the Raider lead to 48-45.  After another Columbia turnover, Ranc scored again—this time on an offensive rebound—cutting the Columbia lead to 48-47. Ranc finished the game with 10 points—eight coming in the critical fourth quarter.
The next minute and half were pivotal. First Columbia was hit with a ten-second violation as they could not get the ball passed half court and break LW’s press. On the ensuing possession, senior Shane Elkins scored on an offensive rebound and was fouled by Columbia junior center Joe Palmer.   After Elkins hit the free throw, Columbia, struggling to get any kind of a decent shot off, was called for an offensive foul when Columbia sophomore Jay Banyasz crashed into LW junior Dan Hillenbrand with 1:30 to play and LW clinging to a two point lead. On the ensuing possession after LW had killed about a minute from the clock, senior Ricky Downer hit the front end of a one and one to put LW up by three, 51-48 with 35.9 on the clock.
Columbia continued the offensive struggles in their final possession forcing two three pointers—one with 20 seconds left and one with 10 seconds left. The second shot was grabbed by Elkins, who flipped it out to Downer, who dribbled ahead of the pack, then passed to junior Dan Hillenbrand who put up a layup as time expired.
After three quarters and LW down ten, Coach Alan Januzzi knew that the game could easily get away from the Longhorns. “I looked in their faces and it looked like they had given up,” said Januzzi after the game. “I told them they can’t give up. They don’t get angry very often, but they played angry in the fourth quarter.”
If LW played angry in the fourth quarter, then Columbia looked worried. “We were playing scared,” said Columbia center Joe Palmer. “We were listening to the crowd, and you can’t do that and expect to win games.”
Tue 12/6/11
L, 61-49
Fri 12/9/11
L, 67-64
Tue 12/13/11
L, 67-59
Fri 12/16/11
W, 68-60
Tue 12/20/11
W, 57-44
Tue 1/3/12
W, 82-39
Fri 1/6/12
L, 53-51
Tue 1/10/12
L, 66-59
Fri 1/13/12
W, 68-65
Tue 1/17/12
L, 77-64
Fri 1/20/12
L, 68-64
Tue 1/24/12
L, 83-66
Fri 1/27/12
W, 83-58
Tue 1/31/12
L, 65-52
Fri 2/3/12
L, 59-56
Tue 2/7/12
L, 71-62
Fri 2/10/12
L, 82-69
Fri 2/17/12
L, 82-72
Tue 2/21/12
L, 63-57
Fri 2/24/12
W, 73-58
Mon 2/27/12
W, 54-52
Fri 3/2/12
W, 53-48
Wed 3/7/12
L, 86-46
2011-12 Coach Alan Januzzi
2011-12 through 2014-15

Lutheran West
3850 Linden Road
Rocky River, Ohio 44116-4099

Phone: 440.333.1660
Fax: 440.333.1729

Acts 3:6-8 I don’t have much, but what I have I give to you:  In the name of Jesus-Walk!  The man jumped up leaping, dancing and praising God!