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Lindhorst comes up big down stretch to lift Waterloo over rival Columbia

Columbia, Illinois – Sam Lindhorst looked down and shook his head.

The Waterloo High senior just couldn’t get a shot in the first three quarters of Tuesday’s game at neighborhood rivals Columbia.

“Oh, I had problems, that’s right,” said Lindhorst. “It was so frustrating.”

Lindhorst turned things around in a hurry with a strong fourth-quarter performance that helped the Bulldogs secure a nerve-wracking 47-45 win in front of a packed crowd at Columbia High.

The 5-foot-10-inch Spark had five points, three steals and two assists in the last 6 minutes and 47 seconds.

The Bulldogs (15-9), thanks in part to Lindhorst’s outburst, overcame a 40-36 deficit during crunch time.

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“She turns it on when she needs it most,” said Waterloo coach Jake Schneider. “And that’s one of the greatest qualities you can have in a player.”

Waterloo, who has beaten the Eagles five times in a row, has struggled in recent weeks, losing three out of four games entered in the contest.

A victory in the rivalry showdown was all the more important.

“You never want to lose to people you know you’ve already beaten,” said Lindhorst. “It would be some kind of thorn.”

Lindhorst took the lead after missing six of her first seven shots.

“I didn’t do the three (pointers), I didn’t do my jumpers,” said Lindhorst, who finished with 11 points and seven assists. “So, I said to myself, just drive to the basket and see what’s there.”

Waterloo standout senior Norah Gum finished the game with 17 points and 16 rebounds. Junior Liv Colson added nine points and sophomore Kristin Smith finished with eight points.

“Our seniors, Sam and Norah, have really improved,” said Smith. “With points and positivity.”

Lindhorst is the engine that makes the team run. She has been a regular for four years and recently became the school’s all-time career leader in steals and assists.

“She helps us so much on defense, which drives our offense,” Smith said.

Columbia built a nine-point lead midway through the third quarter behind the trio of Jordan Holten, Karsen Jany and Sam Schmuke. Holten led by 15 points. Jany finished with 11 and Schmuke had 10.

But the Bulldogs went on an 8-3 run past the final 2:46 of the third period to climb to 36-32.

Gum gave her team their first lead since the end of the first period when she hit a layup midway through the last frame after a steal from Colson.

Lindhorst hit one-handed through the lane with a deft run, and newcomer Aubrey Heck followed with a basket for a 46-43 cushion with 76 seconds left.

Holten brought the hosts back to 46:45 with two foul shots before Lindhorst saved one of two free throws. Lindhorst, who will continue her career at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, recorded her last steal with 22 ticks on the clock.

Schneider hopes the emotional triumph will get his team back on track. The two rivals are nine minutes apart in Monroe County.

“We waited to the end before finally figuring it out, but I think that should help us a lot to move forward,” Schneider said. “We have a few areas that we need to work on. But this team has a high ceiling.”

Columbia played well for a good majority of the contest but only managed a field goal past the final 6:26.

“All the pressure scared us a bit,” said Schmuke, who is also on the soccer team. “We rushed things a bit. We needed to calm down.”

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