COLUMBIA CITY-The atmosphere at Columbia City High School was something you don’t see too often for a girls’ basketball game. It was a large crowd that witnessed one of the most important games in the gym’s young history. Everyone in Northeast Indiana had their eyes on this game. Friday marked Columbia City’s 2nd win over Norwell in the last 15 years as they won 55-34.
The first quarter started off slow for both teams as Columbia City led 2-0 (on a turnaround hook shot by Addison Baxter) halfway through the quarter. However, things started to change, when senior Rebekah Marshall grabbed the offensive board and Baxter passed it to Marshall again for the corner 3 to make it 5-0 Eagles. Throughout the entire game, Columbia City never trailed.
Freshman Addison Baxter took over in the first quarter scoring 7 of her 15 points in that 1st quarter. Columbia City held Norwell to just 2 points until Kennedy Fuelling drained a tough three at the buzzer to make it 14-5 Eagles after 8 min of play. The 2nd quarter, however, was where Kyndra Sheets caught fire! She made a couple corner triples, and led the offense in that quarter as Addison Baxter sat out for most of the quarter due to foul trouble. Sheets scored 10 of her team high 16 points to give Columbia City a 28-14 lead at intermission.
Whatever was said during that break didn’t change anything at all in the third quarter, the Eagles out scored Norwell 17-5 in that quarter to increase their lead to 26 at 45-19. All game long, Columbia City was getting key contributions from multiple players, but most importantly their defense frustrated a talented Norwell squad all night.
Norwell did go on a 7-0 run in the 4th, and the game ended closer than how the play was. But Norwell never recovered from the poor shooting and turnovers, and Columbia City (for most of the night) never stopped playing aggressive basketball. Even when Molly Baker was held to 4 points, Baker’s defense frustrated Norwell’s big girls inside, including Skyla Tomasek. Marshall had 11 points and was a key part of Columbia City finding their groove in the first half.
Kyndra Sheets and Addison Baxter played arguably their best games as Columbia City Eagles on the varsity stage. Baxter excelled in the big moments, getting major stops on defense, and was making tough shots look effortless.
As for Sheets, she found her rhythm in the second quarter and Norwell had zero answer for her ball handling and penetration. Sheest was starting to bury those open threes, and she was finding her sweet spot in the midrange game. But it’s also important to note that Kyndra was also doing a nice job slowing down Norwell’s pace and forcing them to reset most nights.
On Norwell’s side, Kennedy Fuelling ended up with 19 points, but 10 of those points came in the final quarter. The rest of the team was held to just 15 combined points, and Makenzie Fuess did not score a point. It was Norwell’s biggest regular season loss since the Carroll game in 2018 and worst conference loss since losing by 40 to Homestead in 2014.
Columbia City still has to take care of business for the rest of conference action, including games against Bellmont and Huntington North. However, the win over Norwell signifies that the Eagles control the destiny from here on out, and it signals more people to realize the rise of Columbia City girls basketball.