Class AAAA Boys: Columbia 69, Statesboro 42

Fort Valley – The opening tip of Saturday’s AAAA semifinal between No. 3 Columbia and No. 6 Statesboro was a highlight for Statesboro’s Zaquavian Smith, who grabbed opening tip and dunked to immediately put the Blue Devils ahead.

The rest of the night was Tahj Shamsid-Deen’s show.

The senior guard continually did whatever he wanted in Columbia’s 69-42 win, which kept the Eagles in position to win their fourth straight state title and sixth in eight years.

“Tahj has been a great leader for us. We definitely play off of him. That’s no secret,” said Columbia coach Kerry Sandifer, who received a warm embrace from former his predecessor, Dr. Phillip McCrary, who left after last year to become the DeKalb County Athletics Director.

Shamsid-Deen scored 32 points, 25 in the first half, and was credited with four assists, four steals and two rebounds.

Smith rolled his left ankle coming down from a jumpshot midway through the second quarter – a play on which he scored the last of his six points. He left the game, and Shamsid-Deen went nuts, scoring 14 points in the last four minutes of the half as Columbia increased its lead from 18-14 to 39-23 by intermission.

“Their team kind of got down once he got hurt,” Shamsid-Deen said. “I mean he’s their best player. They kind of looked lost out on the floor. They were down and we tried to keep them down, tried to kick them while they’re down. We were able to get the lead up to 16 at the half.”

Smith came back out to start the second half, but was hobbled and ineffective.

“That really hurt us,” said Statesboro coach Lee Hill. “We had a little momentum there. He’s not only our leading scorer, but he’s our best defender.”

The Eagles spread the floor in the second half while maintaining a double-digit lead.

Columbia pushed the lead past 20 early in the third quarter. Statesboro responded with a 9-0 run to cut it to 11, but would get no closer.

Shamid-Deen’s last field goal, a layup with 2:45 left, capped a 13-0 run that made it 62-38.

Maurice Rivers scored 15 points and collected a team-high 10 rebounds for Columbia.

O’Aaron Ware led Statesboro with nine points.

12 comments Add your comment


March 2nd, 2013
8:22 pm

Chs will be able get all athletes now lol! He going hide paperwork, lol


March 2nd, 2013
10:27 pm

Congrats Columbia High represent for 6AAAA in the Finals

Eagles Fans

March 3rd, 2013
1:21 am

@brandon we plan on bringing the ring back to the dec

Eagle 1

March 3rd, 2013
2:37 am

Congrats to the Eagles Boys and Girls, this is what it’s all about. One more Stay Focused!!!


March 4th, 2013
7:23 pm

Tahj Shamsid-Deen is the best player in the State. Period. He is truly Mr. Basketball in the State of Georgia. He is the ultimate leader and the ultimate winner on that court. He impacts the game like no other and without him Columbia would probably be like 18-10 and probably would not be in the Championship Game.

KL Southside

March 4th, 2013
7:53 pm

Taj was awesome again! This kid will be playing in the NBA. He scores so effortlessly without expending too much energy. It will be tough, but I think they will beat Eagles Landing. Great coaching as they took the lead and ran time off the clock. No need to get a player hurt with an ankle when you have the game wrapped up. Good luck to Columbia and Eagles Landing!

Eagle 1

March 4th, 2013
9:58 pm

If Tahj win his 4th title that should automatically win Mr.Georgia. Brannen Green is a good player but his career is nowhere near this kids resume!! Don’t cheat the kid!!


March 5th, 2013
8:22 am

hey eagle1 i agree.but then to tahj has been overlooked his whole career , except what he went out and earned, between three state championships,three time playrr of the year, member of the 1000 point club since he was ajunior, and i believe he holds the alltime assist record in the state of ga.he should definitely get mr. basketball for the state of georgia.


March 6th, 2013
12:23 am

I agree with Snakedaddy. Tahj for president.

Coolie Bai Highlights

March 6th, 2013
5:08 pm

I agree with you guys about Tahj. I remember him in middle school and he was a already a scoring threat then and has just elevated his game each year. He feeds off of not being given his props by the professionals. I watched that game & he made it look so easy. Him vs I. Dennis of Eagles Landing should be a good matchup. It should be a very good game. Can’t wait to see.


March 6th, 2013
7:49 pm


March 6th, 2013
7:50 pm

Tahj not for president for crack head.