By Marion Wilhoite
Columbia State Community College’s women’s basketball team will enter the first weekend of the TJCCAA season Friday on the heels of a comeback win Tuesday over the Cumberland University Junior Varsity.
The Lady Chargers, who had dropped their first two games, twice overcame 10-point deficits while taming the Lady Bulldog offense to post a 74-69 victory.
“It is always good to get the first win of the season. I continue to say that our team will continue to get better each game,” said Columbia State Coach Bridget Goodnight.
While offensive execution put the points on the scoreboard, it was the defense which keyed the win as it forced 12 of Cumberland’s 17 turnovers in the fourth quarter that helped the offense overcome a 56-46 lead held by the Lady Bulldogs.
“We made better decisions with the ball, showed improved intensity on defense, and recognized how important it is to play with a sense of urgency for four quarters,” Goodnight explained.
Lasha Scott, a freshman wing player from Decatur County-Riverside High School, was a factor throughout the game on both ends of the court. Scott’s shooting was sharp, but more important she had a triple-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists plus two steals and a blocked shot.
Scott’s seven of 13 from the field and six of eight foul shots led the team in accuracy, while it was sophomore guard Connor Depriest who led the scoring parade with 26 points, all but two coming on her eight 3-point baskets. Depriest, who in the middle portion of the game made five consecutive treys, iced the game with 37 seconds left with two foul shots for a six-point lead.
A key to victory was the athletic moves by sophomore Layken Coman who missed the first two games with an injury. Though just 5-foot-4, Coman came off the bench and played well in the paint, scoring 11 points and leaping for six rebounds.
Sub Jasmine Dickson and starter Leah Tangerstrom (game high 12 rebounds) joined Scott, Depriest and Coman in making things difficult for the Lady Bulldogs.
Rachel Tracy paced Cumberland in points (19), rebounds (7) and assists (5). Bobbi Staats also had seven boards and netted 14 tallies. Calynne Pridemore added a dozen points.
The Lady Chargers play a 7:30 p.m. game Friday Nov. 11 at Motlow State Community College and 4 p.m. Saturday at Volunteer State Community College.
Now in her fourth season, Goodnight said she realizes improvement will be needed throughout the season. Her team has already played two junior college teams with more quickness and depth than Cumberland.
“We know we will be faced with many challenges in regards to our opponents. However, team defense, ball security, executing offense, rebounding, and shot selection will be some key areas for us to focus on as we move forward,” Goodnight said. “Even though it is early in the season, we recognize our need to step up to a higher level and take responsibility for being as prepared as possible.”
Columbia State 123, Cumberland JV 73: In a virtual process of their previous two wins, the Chargers used their quickness, speed and depth to command the second half.
Coach Winston Neal’s nearly freshman-filled roster has outscored their three foes 208-128 but can expect challenges this weekend that they haven’t encountered this month when they go to Motlow (3-0) and Volunteer (3-0).
“Motlow will fill the gym,” Neal said, now in his second season with the chargers. “They have a lot of plans on Veterans Day. We need to have poise and play as a team. It will be tough to come through this weekend with two conference wins. You can’t afford early season losses in this conference.”
In the Tuesday win, Columbia took a quick 13-3 lead then subbed freely through the remainder of the game as the Bulldogs’ seven players were much shorter than the Chargers at all positions. They did have decent quickness and in the first half often shortened the game as they worked the shot clock down.
Tavon King, a guard from Halls, Tennessee, and small forward Deshaun Wilkenson from Effingham County (GA) High School, tallied 24 and 23 points respectively. King hit 10 of 13 shots and Wilkerson 9 of 13 attempts.
Adrian Hicks, the only sophomore starter, scored 19 points and had four assists while guard Jerrick Mitchell had 10 points and six assists.
Wilkenson led in rebounds with seven and blocked a pair of shots, while Antwan Jennings cleared six boards. Kyldrick Lesure added five assists while Hicks had four.
Cumberland had five players score in double digits led by Tad Brown with 15, all in the second half. Robert Jordan and David Murray added 13 and 12 points respectively.