The Columbia boys in recent years have enjoyed success that has been equaled by few teams in state history. By now you’re undoubtedly aware that the Eagles have won five state championships in seven year, including three straight heading into this year.
Could this year be different?
The No. 1 Eagles might well make it four in a row, but there is evidence to think that the ride will take on a more gritty quality.
First-year coach Kerry Sandifer told his team Tuesday that that night’s matchup with No. 2 Marist that it was a rehearsal for tournament play, and the way the game went – a 52-50 win in overtime – was quite different from what Columbia has faced in recent state playoff games. The Eagles have won their 10 state tournament games over the past two years by an average of 23 points. Even taking away a 53-point first-round win in 2011, the average margin of victory is 19, and none of their state playoff wins the last two years has been closer than 14 points at the end.
If they run into Marist again, there figure to be some clenched teeth at the end. The Eagles swept the regular-season series, but the two wins were by a combined three points.
Down to the wire: The Columbia and Redan girls seem headed to a tie for first place in 6-AAAA Division A. They’re each 8-1 in sub-region play and they split two games in the regular season. Columbia plays Chamblee Friday night. The Lady Eagles beat Chamblee 51-28 in the first meeting. Redan faces a Stone Mountain team it beat 69-19 in the first meeting.
Down to the wire 2: The girls teams at Dougherty and Monroe are a weekend away from sharing the top spot in the 1-AAAA girls standings. Dougherty (17-5, 11-2) faces Westover Friday night at home. Monroe (17-6, 10-2) has games against Albany and Worth County this weekend.
Rival in the way: The Cross Creek girls are one win from a perfect regular season. Standing in the way is 3-AAAA rival Hephzibah. The two schools are less than 10 miles apart, and Cross Creek coach Kim Schlein was an assistant coach at Hephzibah prior to taking the Cross Creek job. Cross creek (23-0) won the first meeting 62-39.
Interesting similarity: Last week we talked about the Jonesboro boys and their penchant for spreading the scoring around. The Jonesboro girls, who have sewn up a top seed for the 4-AAAA tournament, have employed a similar approach if their stats on maxpreps.com are to be believed. Senior Victoria Florence leads the Lady Cardinals in scoring at 11.2 points per game, and three of her teammages are hovering around 9 ppg.