If only every Columbia College men's basketball game could be played in the middle of the week.
The Claim Jumpers won for the third consecutive Wednesday, this time beating West Hills, which entered the night in second place in the Central Valley Conference.
Columbia ground out a 56-54 victory behind 14 points from Fabian Lopez, who matched his season-high, and 12 rebounds from Rajwayne Palmer.
Jess Donnerberg hit one of his four 3-pointers to beat the halftime buzzer and put Columbia (7-19, 3-5 CVC) ahead 26-23.
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The Claim Jumpers led the entire second half while containing the Vikings' leading scorers.
J.C. Snead, who averages 15 points, led West Hills (15-13, 4-3) with 12. David Carter, who scored 27 points against Columbia earlier this season, was held to three points.
The Claim Jumpers travel to Visalia to play College of the Sequoias on Saturday at 7 p.m.
FRESNO 88, MERCED 77, at Merced — What a difference Edwin Opoku makes. In their last meeting, Fresno City handed Merced an embarrassing 48-point loss with an injured Opoku on the sideline.
With Opoku back in the fold, the difference was remarkable. He scored nine points and moved the offense along, keeping the Blue Devils (8-16, 3-5 CVC) in the game. Justin Sparks led with 16 points. Fresno (26-5, 8-0) stayed perfect in conference behind Arte Williams' 30 points.
MERCED 98, REEDLEY 44, at Reedley — Kenyatta Harper led the Blue Devils (18-11, 5-1 CVC) with 16 points, including three 3-pointers, and 10 rebounds. Katie Williams led four Tiger scorers with 29 points.
Merced Sun-Star staff writer Sean Lynch contributed to this report.