By Maurice Patton
COLUMBIA — A sluggish start turned out to be just that Friday night for Columbia Academy, as the visiting Bulldogs clamped down defensively over the final three quarters of a 71-34 victory over Zion Christian in Division II-A District 3 play.
Improving to 6-0 (2-0) with the performance, CA outscored the Eagles 9-2 in the early moments of the second period to snap a 17-all deadlock, then extended a 37-27 halftime lead with a 19-2 third quarter.
“They brought some aggressiveness early. They took it to us,” Columbia Academy coach Marty DeJarnette said regarding the Eagles (1-2, 0-2), who got a team-high 13 points from Martin Methodist signee Hayden Headley in the opening half. “They were physical with us.”
CA wore the hosts down, though, with 11 different players scoring — including Tanner Ham, who finished with 17 points and three 3-pointers, and freshman Griffin Cooper, who added 10 points.
“We played on a high early,” Zion coach Derek Boyd said. “They missed some shots and we made some plays. Hayden played some good minutes.
“That first half was probably about as good as we’ve played this year. The second half had a lot to do with what CA did, but – we were zonked. With their pressure and with us being tired, it multiplied.”
Zion Christian committed 16 of its 27 turnovers in the second half, as Columbia Academy allowed just seven points in the final 16 minutes.
“We got what we came for, and now we’ll get ready for CPA,” DeJarnette said, referring to the Bulldogs’ matchup Saturday at Anderson Fieldhouse.
Perimeter play paces road win: Averi Slaughter and Jaelyn Hickerson teamed for 31 points and seven 3s as Columbia Academy’s girls defeated Zion Christian 63-20.
“When you see zone (defense) all night, you’re going to have a lot of perimeter opportunities. We knocked down some 3s,” coach Stephen Fields said after his Lady Bulldogs (4-2) went 8-for-27 from beyond the arc – including four from Slaughter, who finished with a game-high 16 points, and three from Hickerson.
“We’re definitely trying to get Jaelyn more comfortable in the offense. She’s obviously logging a lot of minutes with Kennedy (Chatman, left labrum) out. She’s had back-to-back double-digit games scoring. She’s starting to gain her confidence scoring the basketball.”
Karli Quillin added 13 points and Madi Lewis 12 for the visitors.
“(It was) so much of us just focusing on what we need to improve on,” Fields said, reflecting on his team’s loss to Battle Ground Academy earlier in the week. “Our ball movement was much better than Tuesday; that was a big plus. Defensively, we’ve struggled with assignment basketball. But our communication was much better and that led to transition points, which got us a lead early.
“Starting fast, being disciplined and communicating on both ends of the floor – I thought the girls did a good job of that.”
Zion Christian (1-3), with just six players in uniform, was led offensively by Becca Hazard’s six points.
“I saw some good things,” first-year coach Shaun Odom said. “We’ve still got to work on boxing out, making the right pass, and when things get crazy, how to stay calm. We know it’s a process. We’re taking it day by day.”
Next up: Columbia Academy has a doubleheader Saturday against visiting Christ Presbyterian Academy. Zion Christian travels for a twinbill Saturday at Grace Christian.
Columbia Acad. boys 71, Zion Chr. 34
CA 17 20 19 15 – 71
ZC 17 10 2 5 – 34
Columbia Acad. (71) – Tanner Ham 17, Hayden Morgan 3, Drew Butt 7, Will Jackson 9, Ryan Bernath 3, Collins Malone 9, Andre McClellan 2, Griffin Cooper 10, Gavin Morgan 4, Nick Brown 7
Zion Chr. (34) – Jackson Hughes 10, Matthew Terry 2, Hayden Headley 13, Ethan Yates 2, Connor Matheny 2, Wesley Riggins 2, Colton Bragan 3
3-pointers – Columbia Acad. 7 (Ham 3, H. Morgan, Jackson 2, Bernath), Zion Chr. 4 (Hughes 2, Headley, Bragan)
Columbia Acad. girls 63, Zion Chr. 20
CA 19 20 17 7 – 63
ZC 7 4 5 4 – 20
Columbia Acad. (63) – Jaelyn Hickerson 15, Isabelle Dees 4, Averi Slaughter 16, Hallie Butterfield 3, Madi Lewis 12, Karli Quillin 13
Zion Chr. (20) – Emily Mesko 2, Maddy Hayes 2, Halle Adcox 3, Peyton White 3, Deanna Trousdale 4, Becca Hazard 6
3-pointers – Columbia Acad. 8 (Hickerson 3, Slaughter 4, Butterfield), Zion Chr. 2 (Adcox, White)
Courtesy photos by Matthew White