Posted: 2:54 am Thursday, February 20th, 2014
By S. Thomas Coleman
Perhaps no other school in Georgia can claim to be the epicenter of basketball like Columbia.
Since 2006, Columbia has won a combined eight state championships, including three of the last four for both the boys (2010, 2011 and 2012) and girls (2010, 2012 and 2013). The boys entered the Region 6-AAAA tournament ranked No. 1 in the state, while the girls were No. 6.
Both looked to grab their respective region tournament championships at home on Wednesday night. The boys struggled but brought home the goods against a scrappy Marist team, while the Eagle girls failed to defeat this season’s beast, Redan, for the third time.
Redan stayed perfect on the year (29-0) with a 71-57 win over Columbia (14-4) that was much closer than the final score indicates. The Raiders led just 56-55 with five minutes left in regulation, but closed the game out with a 15-0 run, led by Brea Elmore. Eight of her game-high 24 points came during the spurt, including going 4-of-5 from the free throw line. Jada Byrd added 18 points while Destini McClary had 11 for Redan. Shamiah Smith led Columbia with 21 points.
Redan head coach Jerry Jackson said he and his squad knew defeating the two-time defending state champions would not come easy, especially on their home floor.
“They’re the defending state champions,” Jackson said. “They are talented, they play hard and they are well coached. We knew it was going to be a tough game.”
In the girls consolation game, Marist outlasted Grady, 54-50, in double overtime.