Category Archives: CSCC

C-State wins nailbiter, Lady Chargers drop close one

Dyersburg State women 75, Columbia State 73

D 22 17 20 16 — 75
C 17 14 19 23 — 73

Dyersburg State (75) — A.G. Alton 6, A. Russel 1, G. Cole 7, C. Taylor 27, E. Singleton 13, C. Messer 21
Columbia State (73) — Mya Byrd 7, Nya Caruthers 15, Diamond Cannon 28, Emily Rominger 1, Denaj’za Jackson 16, Bri Brown 6
3-pointers — Dyersburg State 7 (Alton, Cole, Taylor 2, Singleton 3), Columbia State 5 (Byrd, Caruthers 3, Cannon)

Columbia State men 59, Dyersburg State 58

Dyersburg State (58) — K. Collier 2, A. Thomas 4, M. Edmond 3, C. Goodwin 3, F. Shields 6, D. Levellyn 16, T. Zeno 3, J. Iciano 21
Columbia State (59) — Chris McKnight 3, R.J. Abernathy 2, Amirion Joyce 16, Tarre’q Williams 8, Chris Nix 6, Tre Carlton 4, Xavier Griffith 5, Kamarie Coffey 3, Jamari Bostic 17
3-pointers — Dyersburg State 8 (Goodwin, Levellyn 4, Zeno, Iciano 2), Columbia State 5 (McKnight, Joyce 2, Griffith, Bostic)
Half — Dyersburg State 33, Columbia State 31

Courtesy photos by Buffy Holt

Chargers, Lady Chargers sweep Vol State at ‘The Web’

By Maurice Patton

COLUMBIA — With three double-digit scorers – including former local standout Tre Carlton – Columbia State extended its win streak to six games Tuesday night, defeating Volunteer State 94-72 at the Webster Athletic Center.

The Chargers (6-1) got 18 points from Chris Nix and 10 each from Carlton, who played his senior season at Centennial after previously playing at Summit, and fellow freshman Chris McKnight.

A total of 13 players scored for Columbia State.

“We have to be better on defense,” C-State coach Winston Neal said. “We got really sloppy, especially against their 3-point shooters. There were times we looked good defensively. That’s when we made our runs.”

Led by Zachary Morris’ 19 points, Volunteer State hit 10 treys. The Chargers had eight – none from returning all-conference selection Jamari Bostic.

“They faceguarded Jamari all night,” Neal said regarding the sophomore guard, who finished with four points. “They took him away. They took him away the last time we played, so we knew it was coming.

“The good thing is that we had other guys step up. Chris and Tre had five 3s combined. If they’re going to take something away, we have to make them pay.”

Lady Chargers exhibit offense: Diamond Cannon and Nya Caruthers combined for 49 points as Columbia State defeated visiting Volunteer State 73-57.

The hosts took control early, going on a 15-2 run to start the game, and had one of their better efforts according to second-year coach Gwen Burton.

“It’s about bringing the energy at the beginning of the game, maintaining it throughout the game and having it at the end of the game,” Burton said. “We had that 15-2 run in the first quarter, but we can’t allow teams to hang around. Once you give teams hope, it’s all over.

“When we execute, we’re fine.”

Cannon scored a game-high 26 points, with Caruthers adding 23 points and six 3s. Mya Byrd finished with another 14 points for the Lady Chargers (2-6).

Next up: Columbia State will face visiting Dyersburg State in a Thursday doubleheader at the Webster Athletic Center. The women’s game will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the men to follow at 7:30 p.m.

Columbia State women 73, Volunteer State 57

V 8 19 15 13 – 57
C 15 13 24 21 – 73

Volunteer State (57) – Malea Robertson 10, Haley Davis 4, Anaya Martin 14, Le-Vana Pridgen 10, Snowden Scott 6, Olivia Delk 13
Columbia State (73) – Mya Byrd 14, Nya Caruthers 23, Diamond Cannon 26, Emily Rominger 2, Jasmine Beard 1, Denaj’za Jackson 4, Bri Brown 3
3-pointers – Volunteer State 1 (Robertson), Columbia State 7 (Caruthers 6, Cannon)

Columbia State men 94, Volunteer State 72

Volunteer State (72) – Terrance Cross 11, Antuan Rhodes-Williams 13, Bobo Hodges 14, Jaylen Singh 2, James Anderson 2, Zachary Morris 19, Peyton West 9, Jared Carter 2
Columbia State (94) – Chris McKnight 10, R.J. Abernathy 5, Amirion Joyce 4, Tarre’q Williams 7, Chris Nix 18, Thomas Poore 2, Trevon Harris 8, Tre Carlton 11, Xavier Griffith 5, Kamarie Coffey 8, Darius Rozier 4, Jamari Bostic 4, Malique Oates 8
3-pointers – Volunteer State 10 (Cross 2, Rhodes-Williams 3, Hodges 2, Morris 3), Columbia State 8 (McKnight 2, Abernathy, Harris, Carlton 3, Coffey)
Half – Columbia State 48, Volunteer State 29

Chargers win second straight

Columbia State men 80, Southwest Tennessee 53

Southwest Tennessee (53) — B. Mason 8, E.J. Johnson 1, K. Holland 7, J. Sanders 11, N. Meriweather 10, J. Cojelli 10, D. M’baye 1, D. Smith 5
Columbia State (80) — R.J. Abernathy 10, Amirion Joyce 9, Tarre’q Williams 8, Chris Nix 25, Trevon Harris 3, Tre Carlton 4, Xavier Griffin 5, Darius Rozier 1, Jamari Bostic 12, Malique Oats 2, Tre Swift 1
3-pointers — Southwest Tennessee 9 (Mason 2, Holland 2, Sanders 3, Meriweather 2), Columbia State 2 (Bostic 2)
Half — Columbia State 31, Southwest Tennessee 20

Charger duo to part ways

By Maurice Patton

After playing together since eighth grade, Gene Holmes and Jayden Lockett are set to part ways for the 2020-21 basketball season.

Holmes committed recently to Bryan College, an NAIA program in Dayton, Tenn., while Lockett announced Saturday he will sign with NCAA Division II Benedict College in South Carolina. Lockett had previously committed to Oakwood University in Huntsville before rethinking his situation.

As sophomores, the pair helped Columbia State earn a Tennessee Community College Athletic Association tournament championship and a berth in the NJCAA nationals that were canceled because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“A key to our team was the guys we had returning,” Chargers coach Winston Neal said. “Gene and ‘J-Lock’ led that. They won in middle school, they won in high school and they won in junior college, and there’s a reason for that: They’re winners. The way they conduct themselves, their work ethic, their high character, their toughness, their ability to do a lot of things well – we won (43) games in two years with those dudes. There’s something to that.

“They were perfect players for us, on and off the court. I was privileged to be able to coach them. We had zero issues with them, on the court, in the classroom, in life. Whatever they decide to do, they’ll be successful at it.”

Prior to their arrival at C-State, Holmes and Lockett’s East Nashville squads compiled a sparkling four-year record of 106-22.

Both are expected to step into leadership roles with their new programs, with Holmes continuing his point guard duties and Lockett likely to assume such.

“I haven’t really seen them play, but I’ve been talking to the coaches about their play style, and it really fits me,” said Holmes, who accepted a full scholarship at Bryan after entertaining offers from various NCAA Division III programs – which do not award athletic scholarships.

The only Charger to start all 33 games en route to a 23-10 finish this past season, Holmes averaged 8.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.7 steals per contest, leading the squad in the latter two categories.

“They should have a pretty good squad, but they needed an older, mature leader,” Neal said. “Gene checks that box. He fit everything they needed, and I think he found a great fit.”

Playing in a balanced attack – no C-State player averaged more than 10.5 points per game – Lockett managed 9.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.6 steals despite missing four games with a broken jaw. He doubled his scoring average in the conference tournament, contributing at an 18.7-point clip over the Chargers’ three wins to earn Most Valuable Player honors.

“Oakwood was close to home,” he said of his initial decision. “My family could come see me, it’s (a Historically Black institution), they’ve got good academics. It felt like a good decision at the time. But once they weren’t offering me a full ride, I didn’t want to deal with what I would have without a full ride.

“Benedict was actually the first school to contact me and the first school to offer me. I always had my eye on them. They’re bringing me in at the ‘1’ and ‘2’. They want me to have the ball in my hands, lead the team. I’m excited to take on a bigger leadership role. I’ve played the ‘1’ before, in middle school, sometimes in high school, so it wouldn’t be anything new to me, leading the offense.”

Recruiting progress pleases Lady Chargers’ coach

By Maurice Patton

Seven in-state signees highlight the first full-fledged recruiting class for Columbia State under second-year women’s basketball coach Gwen Burton.

“The objective was to get kids in-state, and try to get a good mixture of kids from out of state as well – have some diversity on the team,” Burton said.

Appointed last May to revive the Lady Charger program after a one-year layoff following the departure of Bridget Goodnight, whose contract expired at the end of the 2017-18 season, Burton pieced together a roster for the ’19-20 campaign that went 2-23 and often played with just one reserve.

The top four players from last year’s squad – guard Aalyiah Davis, a product of Clarksville’s West Creek, guards Diamond Cannon and Denaj’za Jackson and forward Treshondra Williams – are all set to return.

Joining that nucleus will be a group of local products that includes forward Bri’anna Brown and guard Carrie Johnson from Giles County, forwards Hannah Davis and Kelsey Keeler from Marshall County, guard Asia Matthews from Blackman and guard Brittany Lawless-Sherrill from Nashville Christian.

Other incoming freshmen include Tyreesha Sanders, a forward from Chattanooga Brainerd; Mya Byrd, a guard from Ashburn (Ga.) Turner County; forward De’Anna Williams, a center from Sylvester (Ga.) Worthy County; and Chedai Rouser, a forward from Flint (Mich.) Hamady.

Rouser is one of four Michiganders on the roster, along with Cannon and fellow Hamady graduates Jackson and Treshondra Williams.

Prior to taking the Lady Chargers helm, Burton had spent a season at Henry Ford College, a two-year school in Michigan.

“Last year was a great experience for me,” Burton said. “It gives me more hope for this season, and raises my expectations and standards, especially with these kids coming in from winning programs.

“The size, the commitment, and the academics are going to be there. With Diamond and Tre coming back – they played 12 or 13 games (joining the team after the Christmas break) and were named second-team all-conference. With that dynamic coming back, and with getting Mya, she’ll be the strong point guard we need to control the tempo of our offense and defense.”

Byrd drew recruiting interest at the NCAA Division I, including from Georgia Tech and Arkansas-Little Rock.

With eyes still on a few prospects, Burton likes the pieces she already has in place for her second campaign with the Lady Chargers.

“You can’t coach height,” she said. “We’ll be able to mix it up in the post area. We’re going to be faster and stronger, (able to) rebound more, push tempo, press and understand basketball.”

Nashville Christian guard Brittany Lawless-Sherrill (left) is one of 11 freshmen set to join the Columbia State women’s basketball program for coach Gwen Burton’s second season. (Submitted photo)

Chargers’ Johnson commits to Ole Miss

By Maurice Patton

Over a twisting and turning path from the Tuscaloosa, Ala., high school ranks to a baseball scholarship at Ole Miss, Brandon Johnson’s faith has been at the forefront – particularly as he contemplated his next move after a shortened 2020 campaign at Columbia State.

“I’m a religious guy. I prayed a lot about it,” Johnson said this weekend after announcing his commitment via Twitter. “I’ve learned through my long journey of recruitment that relationships are one of the most important things, if not the most important.

“If you can find a right fit for yourself, you can be confident and comfortable with where you’re going. That’s the ultimate decision-maker.”

With the Chargers’ season – and all of college baseball – halted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Ole Miss coaches were unable to see Johnson in live action this spring and vice versa. Still, he felt secure in tabbing the Rebels over Southeastern Conference rivals Alabama and Kentucky as well as Purdue and Jacksonville State.

“Before everything went down with the coronavirus, they were recruiting me,” Johnson said. “They were supposed to come see me the weekend (March 13-14, at Jackson State) that everything got canceled. But they relied on video and reports from different coaches.

“I really liked the coaching staff, and the atmosphere. And right now, they’re on a 16-game win streak. So, recent history, they’re right up there with the best in the SEC. I couldn’t turn it down.”

After opening the season with a Valentine’s Day loss to Louisville, Ole Miss had won 16 straight heading into their scheduled SEC opener against LSU before play was stopped.

Johnson, a 6-foot, 185-pound right-hander who initially signed with Alabama-Huntsville out of Brookwood High School, was similarly hot this spring. In his first two outings, he worked seven innings – striking out 20 with two walks to earn National Junior College Athletic Association Pitcher of the Week honors.

He continued his good work over the Chargers’ 9-15 (3-3 TCCAA) schedule, posting a 5-0 record with a 2.48 earned run average and 51 strikeouts in 29 innings.

“After my redshirt freshman year, we had our exit meetings after the (TCCAA tournament) loss to Dyersburg State,” Johnson said. “Coach (Mike) Corn told me if I had a good offseason, worked on some things, I had a good chance to play (NCAA Division I) Power 5 or even SEC ball. I got to the spring, and it all just clicked together.”

On an upward trajectory after going 3-0 with a save, a 3.31 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 51.2 innings in his first year at C-State, Johnson is ready for whatever role is in store for him at Ole Miss.

“They expect to lose two or three guys to the (Major League Baseball) draft,” he said. “Hopefully I can be of help to them. But it depends on the fall and getting everybody lined up.

“They’ll put me in the place that best benefits them.”