BASKING RIDGE, NJ - A disappointing regular season gave way to a short but thrilling post-season ride for the Columbia High School varsity boys basketball team.
Friday night, the Cougars were eliminated in the semifinal round of the NJSIAA Section 2, Group 4 state tournament with a 46-44 loss to Ridge on a 3-pointer by Derek Lyons at the buzzer.
Top-seeded Ridge is 24-3, and Columbia finished its season with a 9-16 record. But the Cougars had already knocked off two teams with better records in two earlier state tournament road games last week, beating Dickinson and Perth Amboy by identical 65-55 scores and then nearly stunning Ridge on Friday.
Saint-Simeon Beaubrun scored 16 points to lead Columbia. Senior guard Michael Runcie had 11 points for the Cougars.
On the season, Runcie led Columbia with 17.8 points per game, 4.1 assists and 2.5 steals. Beaubrun finished with averages of 12.2 points and 6.9 rebounds.