The first half was near domination. The second was hanging on by a thread.
Columbia held Redan to just 2 points over a more than 11-minute stretch, spanning the first to third quarters. But that didn’t put away the Raiders, who charged back to take the lead late before Columbia held on to win 49-46 in the Region 6-AAAA final.
As the clock ticked toward the 6-minute mark of the third quarter, the Eagles (23-3) had a 28-13 lead and were smothering Class AAAA No. 2 Redan (23-2) with their quickness and size under the basket.
In the first half, Columbia had outrebounded the Raiders 26-10, in addition to forcing 15 Redan turnovers to build a comfortable lead.
But with young teams – even ones ranked No. 1 most of the season – complacency sometimes follows good fortune. Such was the case with Columbia.
“We played probably 3-1/2 quarters of disciplined defense,” Columbia coach Chantay Frost said, “and then we just got away from what we were looking for. That’s kind of how it happened.”
And Redan took advantage, going on a 15-4 run to cut the Columbia lead down to 32-28, then putting together an 11-1 run in the fourth quarter to complete the comeback and tie the game 39-39 with 4:09 left.
At that point, the Eagles were struggling at the free-throw line, making 9 of 23 shots to help give Redan the opening it needed.
For the final 4 minutes, though, they 6 of 9 from the stripe, giving them a 3-point cushion when Brea Elmore’s last-second 3-pointer fell just short.