Columbus gets tough win versus rival school

One of the biggest sporting events of the school year transpired last week at the University of Miami as the Columbus Explorers faced off against their rival school Belen Jesuit. The Columbus faithful were hopeful for some better results than last year as both the JV and varsity team were thrashed by the Wolverines. The atmosphere in the Bank United Center was electric for both games. Students came dressed up all charming but the game was everything but.

The players themselves had been waiting for that game for a year, wanting to avenge their senior teammates from last season. They learned from last year, getting blown out in your final Columbus/Belen rivalry game isn’t exactly the best way to leave. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case this year, they had a different story to write. The JV team managed to hold on to a slim lead the entire game, pulling out a victory that had the crowd on the edge of their seat. It would be reasonable to say that game set the tone for the big one.

From the tip, the game had a weird vibe to it, both teams struggled to get any points on the board, frankly, Columbus couldn’t throw a ball into the ocean if they were stranded on a boat, yet led at the end of the first quarter.

The game was ugly the whole way but like the Explorers have been doing all year long, they grinded it out and found a way to win. Senior Andy Byrne hit a couple of big three point shots to put Columbus ahead late.

Whether you believe in karma or not, something surreal almost happened. Two years ago in the same building, Christian Melendez hit a game winning shot feet away from the half court line, leaving Belen and it’s fans in a state of shock.

The Explorers were almost were on the other side of the gun.

The Wolverines were down 1 points with 43 seconds to go In the ballgame. Columbus played well defensively but the Wolverines had an opportunity to steal the game late down two with under 10 seconds remaining. Belen was scrambling for a good shot and they found it. A wolverine found himself wide open on the right wing of the court with the ball in his hands. As soon as he let the ball go it looked good, really good. The ball hit the top-front of the hoop, dancing around the rim for awhile. Seemed like a bad case of déjà vu for a few seconds, check that, felt like hours. The ball rimmed out and that would be the last decent shot Belen would have, a few missed free throws and a last second full court shot later the Explorers were left standing victoriously.

It was celebration time in Coral Gables as the players ran to the student section imploring the fans to get crazy. The most excited one of the group, Danny Enjamio, who went through a couple of knees surgeries and months of rehab to get back on the court for games like that. He was jumping around In excitement, sprinting through the tunnel like he was being chased. The locker room postgame was an unforgettable sight, an adrenaline filled team had just accomplished a goal they set out for themselves many months beforehand. “They found a way, this team has a lot of grit. They battle, they fight, you know we’re not the biggest, we’re not the tallest but they found a way to win in a big rivalry game.” Said Coach Lorenzo after being doused by water in the locker room by his players. No this game wasn’t the cleanest victory we’ve seen from the Explorers this season but it sure was the biggest.

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