Boys Basketball: Columbia 52, Marist 50 OT

Separation was impossible. Breathing room was small and fleeting.

In a gritty back-and-forth battle, Class AAAA No. 1 Columbia hit 11 of 12 overtime free throws to outlast No. 2 Marist 52-50.

“For the first time this season, I’m just sitting over there coaching, and I feel exhausted,” said Columbia coach Kerry Sandifer, after his team survived 14 lead changes and 11 ties with a Marist team that looked every bit good enough to hand Columbia (21-2) just its third loss of the season.

But when the defensive slugfest turned into a free throw-shooting contest, and the game tilted ever so slightly toward Columbia, it was up for the test.

Columbia’s final 13 points of the game came from the stripe, including two with 1:06 left in the fourth quarter that proved to be the final points of regulation.

Those came from Auburn signee Tahj Shamsid-Deen, who finished with a game-high 22 points and was 7 of 8 on free throws in the fourth quarter and overtime.

He was a key part of the Columbia effort from the line that was just enough to hold off Marist (18-3).

“We really stepped up and hit them when it counted,” Sandifer said. “That was the difference in a really defensive battle.”

Overtime was fitting in this game, in which neither team led by more than 5, and nobody seemed to have a knockout blow to deliver.

Coming the closest for Marist was Bobby Perez, a small guard who kept getting loose for shots, hitting five 3-pointers en route to a team-high 20 points.

His biggest shot came in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, giving Marist a 40-37 lead, its biggest of the game.

Columbia got a short jumper from Shamsid-Deen to get back within 1, and then his two free throws tied it after Marist’s Quinton Stephens went 1 of 2 at the line with 1:18 left.

With the postseason quickly approaching, this is the type of game Sandifer said his team needs to be able to win, in front of a hostile crowd, against a team that can match them shot for shot.

He said, regardless of the outcome, he knew his players were going to get something positive out of this game.

“The thing I told them right before we left,” Sandifer said, “win or lose, this is a rehearsal for the region tournament and the state tournament coming up. I said, ‘Either way, no matter what happens, we’re going to come out of this a better team.”

27 comments Add your comment

Columbia Fan

February 5th, 2013
11:14 pm

More relieved than elated about that win. I can honestly tell you that was a great win over a great team… a team I’m sure we’ll see again. Looking for 4 in a row!!!

Eagles Fans

February 5th, 2013
11:14 pm

I just dont trust this coach his sub patterns don’t make sense and his offensive sets is nothing more than pick and roll, Dr. Phil would do so much with team if he still was coaching

JLH...

February 5th, 2013
11:38 pm

Marist is afraid to let the black basketball coach go…they are stuck with this guy now. How long will they continue to put up with his ineptness? Too long has already been the answer…

Left Coast Dawg

February 6th, 2013
2:16 am

So what does JLH stand for “Just Love Hatin”? Wy pull the race card? Is it of possible that maybe Columbia is truly a better team than Marist? To say a coach with an 18-3 record (and two of those losses coming in close fashion to the #1 team in the state) is inept and that the color of his skin is a factor shows poor taste by you, JLH.

some sense

February 6th, 2013
6:50 am

Comments are way out of line. Guy could be the worst coach in the history of the world, but neither he nor his school deserve this. JLH should be ashamed of himself…taking what is obviously personal to him to a public forum.

ron

February 6th, 2013
7:03 am

Yeah, JLH you just can’t see beyond black & white.It’s obvious your mental growth development has been retarded.

Tommy

February 6th, 2013
7:25 am

How can the AJC allow something so racist to be posted by JLH. It is truly sad that you have those feelings about the coach skin color and you need SERIOUS help. Marist coach keep doing a great job and well wishes in the tourney.

Just sayin

February 6th, 2013
7:27 am

Two teams who know how to attract good ball players and develop them. Thats men and womans teams. Folks dog the Columbia coach but pressure is on Marist to win because the players they attract ain’t free.

some sense

February 6th, 2013
7:42 am

btw…The names JLH, ron, and Tommy are familiar to all who know Marist. JLH is goin’ back a little.;

Da Coach

February 6th, 2013
8:33 am

Any analysis of the actual game instead of “pressure” on either coach?

Dekalb sports fan

February 6th, 2013
8:39 am

Da coach. You are spot on. I thought that the Columbia guard play was excellent and the Columbia from court controlled the glass in the first qtr. And most of the first half. Two very good teams.

Bob Perez

February 6th, 2013
8:46 am

It was a great game and the two games played between these teams both Columbia wins (a one point and now a two point spread) show the caliber of both teams. A possible 3rd meeting is a possibility.

DST

February 6th, 2013
9:06 am

JLH is just ignorant. Both teams are great! and it’s always a nail biter when they play, love it, so what does the marist coach being black have to do with anything? you close minded f@@l!!!

Decatur 4 Life

February 6th, 2013
9:38 am

First off let me say great win for the Eagles last night in a hostile enviroment, also glad to hear we’re finally starting to play more consistent on defense as well as more physical in the paint. I’m not even going to waste too much of my time commenting on JLH’s remarks, just sad we’re still dealing with backwards thinking this day and age. Like Left Coast Dawg says how can you call a coach inept when they’ve only lost 3 games this season losing twice to the #1 team in the state by 1 and then 2 in overtime. That coming off a season where they went 20-8 last year making the 3rd round of the state losing to eventual 4 time champion Miller Grove. Just doesn’t make any sense!

Columbia Fan

February 6th, 2013
10:13 am

Question for Marist: where was the little guard from last time we played. #1 I think. From his attitude on the court last game I hope he was not serving a mandatory suspension… he seems like he’s a solid player. Also, what happened during the game to #5; that’s one tough dude. He plays probably the best defense on Tahj I’ve seen this year. And on a side note… I thought both coaches had some mistakes, but did a fine job.

KLSouthside

February 6th, 2013
10:33 am

@Columbia Fan, the guard #1 Cam Wiley has been out for two weeks due to a concussion, so I think you may be thinking about someone else with the attitude. Fell hard on his head going up for a rebound a few weeks back. He was there in plain clothes on the Marist bench. He and Taj (from Columbia) must be really good friends because they hugged and talked for a while after the game. The other guard, #5 was hit in the face by an elbow and may have a broken nose and a concussion. Hopefully, he will be back for the playoffs. He has solid defense on Taj. @Decatur 4 Life, your Columbia team came to play. I have to give them props. I think those two will meet again in the regional finals and the state playoffs. Don’t give attention to JLH. Obviously, they have no clue about the sport of basketball.

Coach

February 6th, 2013
10:51 am

Marist played the game shorthanded, the little guard #11 has missed the last few games due to a concussion, a big lost, he give Marist another much needed scorer, should be back next week. The other starting guard #5 probably broke his nose in the first half and was not able to play, even though he wanted to. Your right Columbia fan, he is the toughest kid you’ll find on any team. These teams will more than likely meet possibly 2 more times, it should be very interesting and very good. JLH you truely are a first class FOOL

Coach

February 6th, 2013
11:01 am

Columbia fan very observant of you, your right he does have some attitude issues he needs to really work on, they have hurt him as a player and his team, but as said earlier he is not out because of that.

basketball fan

February 6th, 2013
11:13 am

i dont like comment that jlh said his not a man his a but hole

Love Basketball

February 6th, 2013
11:48 am

This was a great game between two really great teams. Unfortunately Marist was shorthanded on the guard front with Cam out with a concussion and Brandon going down with a possible broken nose in the first half. Much respect to Bobby Perez for handling the pressure and scoring 20pts for Marist. Columbia made the tough free throws at the end, that was the difference. Columbia made the tough shots and Marist didn’t. I’d like to think if Marist was at full strength, they would’ve won tonight. Very unfortunate situation for them. Injuries are TOUGH!! They have Lithonia Friday and afterwards Regionals. Let’s see how this all plays out. JLH you are a coward for your comments. Coach Mcclaire has these kids set at #2 in the State and their 3 losses are by a total of 5 points. Get a life.

KLSouthside

February 6th, 2013
11:54 am

@Coach you must have some really inside info, because I have been scouting Marist all season and I haven’t seen that from #1. In my line of work, I would rather have kids that care and are competitive than nonchalant with no heart. In saying that, I really like the heart and guts of that Bobby Perez (Marist) kid. He hit a buzzer beater three pointer in Memphis. If it wasn’t for him, Columbia would have pulled away easily. Marist has a lot of work to do before now and the playoffs. You can’t have that much height and get out worked on the boards against a smaller team. This is a very intriguing team that has yet to meet their potential. I will be watching them along with the champs (Columbia) and S.Atlanta closely throughout the playoffs.

Da Coach

February 6th, 2013
12:47 pm

Sounds like I missed a barn burner. Reminds me of the Marist-Dunwoody battles of the early 2000’s…Marist was always right there and couldn’t close it out.
Anyone have any idea what the region tourney seedings are looking like?

Columbia Fan

February 6th, 2013
3:11 pm

I think as far as what i could find is the follows: #1 Columbia, #2 Marist, #3 Chamblee, either Stone Mountain or Lithonia at #4 and #6 is Redan on our side. Other side is #1 Grady, #2 S. Atlanta (but they Friday), #3 Banneker, #4 Therrell, #5 Carver, #6 Washington

Region 6 fan

February 6th, 2013
11:01 pm

Where is this year’s region tournament? What days??

Coach

February 7th, 2013
8:11 am

@Region 6 fan, the tournament is at South Atlanta High and I believe it starts on either Feb. 11th or 12th

Decatur 4 Life

February 7th, 2013
12:26 pm

KLSouthside

Appreciate the props for my Eagles! I agree with you I think we will see Marist again before the season’s over, I think probably the state tourney though. Sorry we had to catch you guys short handed too, I’m convinced that region tourney is going to be a war. No matter the seed everyone will have to come to play!

war eagle superfan

February 9th, 2013
8:12 pm

Very impressive game Tuesday. I think Bobby Perez was outstanding under a great deal of pressure. If my information is correct, that Wiley #1 (Marist) is playing his second year of varsity and is only a sophomore. I remember last year when they called him “the freshman”. Any interpreted angst on the court may simply be lack of maturity (although I’ve been to every Marist game and have not seen anything other than great play). On the plus side, as he matures, I would be impressed where he’ll be as a player next year. Impressive that he is competitive as he is this far.