By Maurice Patton
COLUMBIA — Midway through playing games on consecutive nights, Columbia Central boys basketball coach Nick Campbell said the schedule would “build toughness”.
He wasn’t wrong, as the Lions had to overcome a 12-point deficit Tuesday before outscoring visiting Marshall County by 16 over the final eight minutes of a 60-44 victory.
The win was Columbia Central’s second in as many nights — following a 65-53 decision over Fayetteville – and the eighth in as many games this season.
“I wasn’t so sure about the toughness early,” Campbell said. “We came out a little flat. We played well in the second quarter, and we played better in the second half.”
Central’s effort was aided by junior guard Q Martin, who scored 14 of his game- and career-high 33 points in the decisive fourth quarter.
“He just put us on his back and said ‘let’s go,” Campbell said regarding Martin, who – along with Bubba Perkins and, with the exception of a couple of minutes, Roni Bailey – played the entire second half.
The Lions trailed 18-6 inside the final two minutes of the opening quarter, before Martin, Perkins and freshman Jordan Davis sparked an 8-0 closing spurt. Bailey and Perkins each scored off offensive rebounds to open the second period, and the contest seesawed back and forth through halftime and the third quarter.
Davis put Central ahead 40-38 to open the fourth period, but Devonte Davis countered with a game-tying basket for Marshall County (3-4), before Martin scored 14 of the hosts’ final 20 points.
“We weren’t really prepared for them to jump on us like that,” Martin said, mindful of the Lions’ 47-42 win in Lewisburg on Nov. 24. “We just thought we were going to beat them without a fight. But we know when Marshall County comes to Columbia, they always put up a fight.
“We got down 18-6 and we knew we had to snap back into reality and play like we’d been playing – putting in the defensive effort, getting rebounds, playing offense, not worrying about turnovers.”
Central’s defense led to transition opportunities, allowing its length and athleticism to be factors.
“We defended really well in the second half,” Campbell said after the Tigers scored just 15 points after intermission.
Perkins – “probably the most underrated player on the team,” according to Campbell — finished with eight points, with Bailey and Davis adding seven each. Devonte Davis’ 18 points and Bryson Hughes’ 13 led Marshall County.
Following the game, Campbell expressed concern regarding senior post Carter Szydlowski, who injured his right ankle midway through the second period and did not return.
“Hopefully it’s not broken,” said Campbell, whose team is already playing without junior guard Omari Franklin (left hip flexor).
Slowdown works for Lady Lions: Playing without Janiyha Riley, Columbia Central employed a deliberate offensive attack, particularly in the second half after grinding out a 10-point cushion, and downed Marshall County 37-27 to complete the regular-season sweep.
With five 3-pointers before the break, Central (8-2) led 23-13 and was able to work on its delay game in the second half.
Josie Parks led the Lady Lions with 14 points, with Ryleigh Hamm scoring another 10. Dionna Crutcher scored a game-high 15 points for Marshall County (1-5).
Next up: Columbia Central’s girls are slated to face Goodpasture to open the B4 Christmas Classic at the Hardy Loyd Gymnasium. The 3:30 p.m. contest Friday will be followed by Columbia Academy and East Hickman at 5 p.m., with Summertown and Austin (Ala.) in the 6:30 p.m. finale. Central and Siegel are scheduled to play at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, with Houston and Oakland set for a 2 p.m. clash.
Central’s boys are scheduled to play Friday at 4 p.m. against Christ Presbyterian Academy in the Riverdale Christmas Classic. The game will be played at Lebanon High School in compliance with Rutherford County Schools’ pandemic guidelines. Central will play the host Warriors at 7 p.m. Saturday as play is set to return to Riverdale.
Columbia Central boys 60, Marshall Co. 44
MC 18 11 9 6 – 44
CC 14 14 10 22 – 60
Marshall Co. (44) – Omarion Alred 2, Silas Hurt 7, Devonte Davis 18, Kaamil Hazel 2, Jaamil Hazel 2, Bryson Hughes 13
Columbia Central (60) – Cam Johnson 2, Carter Szydlowski 2, Demetrius McCoy 1, Q Martin 33, Bubba Perkins 8, Roni Bailey 7, Jordan Davis 7
3-pointers – Marshall Co. 3 (Davis, Hughes 2), Columbia Central 3 (Martin 2, Bailey)
Columbia Central girls 37, Marshall Co. 27
MC 9 4 5 9 – 27
CC 13 10 6 8 – 37
Marshall Co. (27) – Karlye Wiser 1, Demiyah Blackman 2, Sydney Tidwell 9, Dionna Crutcher 15
Columbia Central (37) – Saviya Morgan 2, Ryleigh Hamm 10, Anaya Mulholland 6, Jenice Bailey 2, Emma Hughes 3, Josie Parks 14
3-pointers – Marshall Co. 4 (Tidwell 3, Crutcher), Columbia Central 5 (Hamm, Mulholland 2, Hughes, Parks)