By Maurice Patton
COLUMBIA — He’s typically listed near the bottom of the scorebook, but Jordan Davis is working his way toward the top of opponents’ scouting reports.
The Columbia Central freshman came off the bench, as per usual, and scored a game-high 15 points Saturday as the Lions snapped a four-game losing streak and opened District 8-AAA play with a 50-44 win over visiting Coffee County.
“He didn’t start, but when he goes in, he usually doesn’t come out,” Central coach Nick Campbell said after the victory, which was delayed an hour for a lack of an officiating crew.
“He brings so much. He’s got an edge. He can score, defend and rebound. It’s hard to believe he’s 14 (years old).”
Davis, who was playing at E.A. Cox Middle School a year ago, helped key a pivotal third quarter as the Lions (9-4, 1-0) took control of the contest after a slow start. His 3-pointer – one of four the Lions converted in the period – came as part of a 10-0 spurt in which he also hit three of four free throws to push Central to a 33-26 lead by the end of the quarter.
“I prepared during the offseason, getting mentally and physically better to face the older guys,” the 6-1 Davis said. “I just go at whoever’s guarding me or whoever I’m guarding.
“I like to compete.”
After trailing 22-14 at halftime, the third-quarter swing set the tone as Central extended a seven-point cushion to as many as 16 before hanging on – and converting 8 of 10 fourth-period free throws — down the stretch.
“They hit a couple of shots in the third quarter. Offensively we got a little stagnant,” Coffee County coach Micah Williams said after his team slipped to 4-4 (0-1). “But a lot of credit to them for making the plays when they needed them. There’s a lot we’ve got to work on.”
The contest, scheduled for a 4 p.m. start, was delayed because of an undisclosed mixup involving game officials. Ricky Armstrong and Toby Frierson from the South Central Association arrived on short notice, followed by Dennis Overstreet, with the opening tip taking place just before 5 p.m.
Neither coach saw the late start as an issue.
“I thought we were ready to play. We went in at the half up eight,” Williams said. “We just had a bad third quarter.”
“We couldn’t score (early),” Campbell said. “Their game plan was to back off us and let us shoot it. We hit some 3s in the third quarter, we got up and guarded better, got in the passing lanes, got some steals, rebounded it better and got some easy baskets.”
With 12 points in the second half, Davis was vital in that resurgence.
“We need some ‘edge’ off the bench. He gives us instant energy,” Campbell said. “He was in the game at the end. That says a lot, to have a freshman in that situation.”
Q Martin added 12 points for Central. Kyle Farless finished with 15 points and Jaxon Vaughn 11 to lead Coffee County.
Central resumes district play Tuesday at Franklin County, with league rival Lincoln County visiting Friday.
Columbia Central boys 50, Coffee Co. 44
Cof 12 10 4 18 – 44
Col 7 7 19 17 – 50
Coffee Co. (44) – Hayden Hullett 5, Kyle Farless 15, Trenton Scrivnor 8, Jaxon Vaughn 11, Conner Shemwell 5
Columbia Central (50) – Cam Johnson 5, Q Martin 12, Omari Franklin 7, Bubba Perkins 6, Jordan Davis 15
3-pointers – Coffee Co. 2 (Hullett, Vaughn), Columbia Central 6 (Johnson, Martin 2, Franklin 2, Davis)