COLUMBIA
BY JACK BULLOCK
It has taken a few seasons of being a 3A program for the Columbia Eagles to compete in boy's basketball.

Last season Coach Mark Sandstrom's club finally got that well earned 3A Regional title, topping Breese Mater Dei 61-58, to win their own event.

Sandstrom has taken the “lemons” of the 3A basketball and have turned the situation into some “lemonade.”

The Eagles ran into perennial powerhouse Centralia at the Highland Sectional to end their season at 22-7.

This coach needs one more win to reach 200 at Columbia (199-133 in 11-seasons) and he is 283-161 overall.

Last season Columbia ran the table at home (15-0) and won the Lebanon/Wesclin Thanksgiving Tournament and also the Columbia/Freeburg Holiday Tournament.

They took home the top hardware in each event for the second consecutive season.

But the bad news for high school athletes as that good ones leave after four years and four starters from that nice run of success have gone.

Korbin Farmer, Drew Huebner, Ryan Gudeman, and Jonny Holmes were major contributors on the success and must be replaced.

The lone returning starter is Jordan Holmes, a 5-foot-10 junior (10.2 p.p.g.) guard.

Greg Long, a 5-foot-10 senior guard, got into some contests last season (2.0 p.p.g.).

Six-foot-five Jon Peterson and 6-foot-7 Cole Khoury will anchor a very tall front court.

Mitch Huebner is a player that will also help out around the basket.

“We obviously lost a lot from last year's team, so we will be a work in progress. However, we have hungry, competitive kids that want to improve every day and win,” said Coach Sandstrom. “I'm excited to work with our inexperienced group. Hopefully by the end of December, the game slows down and our youngsters will be used to the physicality and speed of the game.”
2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULE
N21-D2 Mascoutah Thanksgiving Tournament J23 Salem

D9

Belleville East J26 @ Okawville
D12 @ Salem J30 Bethalto Civic Memorial
D15 Freeburg F2 Mascoutah
D19 @ Carlyle F9 Carlyle
D26-29 Columbia/Freeburg Holiday Tournament F12 @ Trenton Wesclin
J5 @ Breese Central F16 @ Freeburg
J6 Highland Shootout F20 Breese Central
J9 @ Waterloo F23 Troy Triad
J16-20 Belleville East Invitational Tournament F25-M2 IHSA Regional TBD