By Chris Yow
COLUMBIA — Not a single player on Columbia Central’s basketball team was even in middle school the last time the Lady Lions were winners over Lawrence County.
A 13-game losing streak that followed a 67-48 victory on Jan. 28, 2014, ended on Friday with a 58-46 Central win.
Improving their overall record to 13-3 overall and 2-1 in District 8-AAA play coming out of a two-week quarantine from COVID-19 was a positive sign for the Lady Lions and coach Joshua Bugg.
“Humility is the key,” Bugg said. “We know we can play with anybody in this district, but we have to humble ourselves and bring our best game every night.”
Josie Parks certainly brought her best game, pouring in a game-high 25 points.
“She’s consistent, and we rely on that from her to keep our momentum as a team,” Bugg said. “She’s like a runner who starts at 5 a.m. and ends at 6 (a.m.). What happens in that hour may not be exciting, but it’s the consistency that makes her so valuable.”
Parks score 10 points in the first quarter, then five, six and four to round out the game.
With the game tied at both halftime and at the end of a sloppy third quarter, Bugg challenged his team to take control of the game, and it did. Trailing 41-40 following a Katie Criswell bucket for the Lady Wildcats, Ryleigh Hamm knocked down a 3-pointer with 5:47 to go in the game and Columbia Central never trailed again.
A big reason for the Lady Lions’ success in the fourth quarter was their deadly accuracy from the charity stripe. For the game, the hosts were 18-of-22, including 11-of-13 in the final frame. Janiyha Riley was a perfect 6-for-6 in the game, five of which came in the fourth, as she dropped 20 points in the win.
“We stepped up in the fourth quarter and did what we needed to do to win the game,” Bugg said. “I feel like this team is learning how to win these type games now, and that’s something we are excited about moving forward.”
Columbia Central will return to district play next week after their annual matchup with Spring Hill at home on Saturday. The Lions host Lincoln County in a makeup game on Monday before traveling to Shelbyville on Tuesday and to Coffee County next Friday.
Lions control game from start to finish
Bubba Perkins knocked down his first shot of the game from behind the arc atop the key, and Columbia Central never looked back, cruising to an 81-63 win over Lawrence County on Friday.
Perkins knocked down five 3-pointers in the game, en route to a game-high 22 points for the Lions. Q Martin added 16 points for the hosts.
Columbia Central (11-6, 3-2 8-AAA) jumped out to an 11-2 lead before the Wildcats found their footing. Lawrence County (6-6, 2-3 8-AAA) made a quick run just before quarter’s end to cut the deficit to 18-12 before the horn, but the Lions pulled away quickly in the second.
A 23-point second quarter, with six different scorers, and a stifling defense had the game well in-hand by halftime. Both teams played several young players late in the game, and Central got a late bucket from Jacoby Webster to seal the deal.
Columbia Central girls 58, Lawrence Co. 46
L 13 14 8 11 46
C 16 11 8 23 58
Lawrence County (46) – Carson Gobble 2, Ella Hillnose 3, Katie Criswell 16, Madison Tidwell 15, Chloe Willis 11
Columbia Central (58) – Saviya Morgan 4, Ryleigh Hamm 5, Janiyha Riley 20, Jenice Bailey 4, Josie Parks 25
3-pointers – Lawrence County 4 (Tidwell 3, Hillnose), Columbia Central 6 (Parks 3, Riley 2, Hamm)
Columbia Central boys 81, Lawrence Co. 63
L 12 13 21 17 63
C 18 23 21 18 81
Lawrence Co. (63) – Alex Carr 6, Kade Shultz 2, Elijah Reynolds 9, Ty Cobb 4, Luke Boswell 15, Luke Mattox 12, Charlie Brewer 5, Jakabri Stevenson 6, Kane Crews 2, Blake Long 2
Columbia Central (81) – Cam Johnson 7, Carter Szydlowski 4, Demetrius McCoy 7, Q Martin 16, Omari Franklin 5, Bubba Perkins 22, Roni Bailey 8, Jacoby Webster 2, Jordan Davis 9
3-pointers – Lawrence Co. 10 (Mattox 4, Stevenson 2, Reynolds 2, Brewer, Carr) Columbia Central 8 (Perkins 5, Franklin, Martin, Johnson)
Photos by Chris Yow / SM-Tn Sports