Last season LaGrange served as Columbia’s first hurdle on the trek toward winning the Class AAA state title. The Lady Grangers were back in DeKalb County Friday for revenge and found none, bowing out to the Lady Eagles 61-47 in a Class AAAA second-round game.
It was the third time in four years the Lady Grangers were eliminated by Columbia, and the Lady Eagles went on to win the state title after their previous matchups last year and in 2010. Top-ranked Columbia (24-3) advanced to face the River Ridge-Chestatee winner.
After trailing by 20 late in the first half and 14 to start the fourth quarter, LaGrange pulled within 51-43 with just over two minutes left to play. Thirty seconds later Yaktavia Hickson’s drive and layup put Columbia up 55-43 and Miah Spencer’s free throws in the final minute inched the lead to 59-45, when LaGrange coach Jan Jones waved the white flag.
“We came out early and took control, then we started to play a little too cool,” Columbia coach Chantay Frost said. “At times we were a little sloppy with the basketball but for the most part we did what we wanted to do.”
Hickson led Columbia with 21 points, five rebounds and two steals. Spencer, a North Carolina State signee, scored 19 points with four rebounds and two steals.
Columbia used several transition baskets to build a 30-10 advantage with a minute to play before halftime, but 3-point baskets from Brittany Tatum and Andrea Heflin trimmed the lead. Tatum, LaGrange’s all-time leading scorer, scored nine of her 14 points in the final quarter.
Tatum, guard Steara Mitchell (10 points) and center Kabrenna Smith (10 points, seven rebounds, two blocks) had combined for nearly 50 points per game for LaGrange this season. The Lady Grangers finished the season at 22-8.
Columbia (61) – Yaktavia Hickson 21, Miah Spencer 19, Shaundricka Mann 8, Shamiyah Smith 7, Starr Nowell 2, M. Harris 2, N. Williams 2
LaGrange (47) – Brittany Tatum 14, Steara Mitchell 10, Kabrenna Smith 10, Andrea Heflin 5, Breanna Grant 4, Chetehya Tucker 2, Taydra Holt 2
Halftime: Columbia 30, LaGrange 16