COLUMBIA — It looked like Columbia College’s farewell to its sophomores would not end well.
Then came the second half and and a big comeback by the Claim Jumpers.
Rafe King delivered 19 points, 15 of them during the final 20 minutes, as Columbia galloped past Merced College 61-46 on Wednesday night at Oak Pavilion in the Claim Jumpers’ final home game.
Columbia (12-13, 5-5) won its second consecutive Central Valley Conference game by overcoming a 34-25 halftime deficit. Merced (2-20, 1-9), which dropped its ninth in a row, was limited to only 12 points in the second half.
King’s slam-dunk off a miss by teammate Ian Merzwinski sparked Columbia early in the second half. Tige Wingo tossed in 14 points and Danny Radford had 12 points for the Claim Jumpers, who will finish the season with road games at Porterville and CVC-leading Fresno City.
Jermaine Crowder hit five 3-pointers and paced the Blue Devils with 15 points, followed by Ronald Charles with 12 and Aaron Deatherage with 10.
• The Modesto Junior College men’s basketball team (13-13, 6-5), locked in a 3-way tie for third place in the Big 8 Conference, face another challenge against Sierra (9-16, 3-8) tonight at 7:30 at MJC Gym. It’s Modesto’s final regular-season appearance at home. The Pirates, who are fighting for a NorCal playoff berth with three games left, built momentum after their overtime victory Tuesday night over American River. They’ll try to avenge a loss at Sierra last month. The MJC women (6-16, 0-11) will meet third-place Sierra (18-8, 7-4) at 5:30.
Lights on – Cal State Stanislaus (3-4) celebrated its first night games at Warrior Field with a 6-1, 6-2 doubleheader sweep over Cal State East Bay. The Pioneers are a California Collegiate Athletic Association affiliate but these games did not count in the standings.
Natalie Rendon pitched a one-hitter for Stanislaus in the opener and was supported by Brianna Nicholson, who homered and drove in two runs. In the nightcap, leadoff hitter Brittney Rickles had three RBIs and Jessica Varady pitcher six innings for the win.
The Warriors open CCAA play at home with back-to-back doubleheaders Friday and Saturday against Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Oholine 8, MJC 0 in Fremont – Modesto (0-3) gave up four runs in the first and committed five errors during a nonleague loss at Ohlone. Mady Adams tripled and Leah Layman doubled for the only two hits for the Pirates, who will meet Porterville today at 2 p.m. at the MJC West Campus field.
MJC aims for 6-0 – The Modesto Junior College baseball team takes a 5-0 record into today’s game against Lassen at 2 p.m. at the MJC park. The Pirates stayed unbeaten with Tuesday’s 8-7 victory against Mission, thanks to Josh Miguel’s tie-breaking sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.
MMC Championships today – Stanislaus District wrestlers begin their pressurized four-week post-season run with the Modesto Metro Conference today at Grace Davis High. Action in both varsity and junior varsity divisions start at 9 a.m. on four mats with the finals starting late in the afternoon. League meets will be conducted across the district through Saturday.