The Columbia Claim Jumpers: A Short Story

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The Columbia Claim Jumpers trailed the West Hills Falcons 82-80 with under 30 second to play Wednesday night on the road in Coalinga.

With the ball in the Jumpers hands, Columbia head coach Rob Hoyt had no desire to see the game go to overtime.

“I’m going to go for the win and get the heck out of there,” Hoyt said.

Columbia’s DeAndre Stallings drained a 3-pointer from six feet behind the arc to give the Jumpers an 83-82 lead with under 20 seconds left in the game.

With a one point lead, Hoyt would not allow himself to celebrate until the final buzzer sounded.

“So far, three of the five games I’ve coached against them have come down the last five seconds,” Hoyt said. “When we were up by one, with 14 seconds left, I was praying to the basketball
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But with 11 second half points from Bosten Van Der Veur and Michael Meserole, the Jumpers were able to take the lead with 1:14 left in the game.

Meserole finished the night with 17 points.

“Everyone played really well, but Mike ran the show,” Hoyt said. “He kept his composure and lit the fire of everyone else. He plays for the moment and he lives for it.”

Stallings scored a game-high 31 points, Lewayne Grant scored 10, Trevin Wilson had nine points, and Aaron May scored seven points.

Columbia (14-7, 4-2 CVC) will host Reedley Saturday at Oak Pavilion with a 6 p.m. start.

For Hoyt, there is no bigger game than the next one on the schedule, but to leave Coalinga with a big victory pleases even the most dedicated coach.

“We survived,” Hoyt said. “We went on the road and survived. Now, we just have to get the next one. It’s not a big deal if we don’t do well in the next round of league. Our league is so hard right now. We are done with the first half of conference play and we’re 4-2. Every game is just a grind. It’s so cliche to say take it one day at a time, but it’s true. Saturday is such a big game for us and we have to get that

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