After losing three of their four matchups to Bowling Green last season, including the South State semifinal and the Class 3A consolation game, the Columbia Academy Lady Cougars avenged their kryptonite Saturday with a big win over the Lady Buccaneers.
Columbia Academy (10-7, 6-0) made it through the first leg of its district schedule undefeated after knocking off Bowling Green 36-33. Chandlar Havard swished three 3-pointers en route to a team-high 11 points, while Presley Dease added nine points and six rebounds and Macey Jones chipped in eight points and four boards.
With a new philosophy this season with more of an emphasis on pressure defense, playing at a faster pace offensively, taking more 3-pointers and crashing the boards offensively, the Lady Cougars are looking like a force to be reckoned with come February in the playoffs. Although the Lady Cougars are still young with only two seniors in Megan Rowley and Olivia Adams, head coach Dale Watts said he believes they are capable of competing for a state title this season.
“We’ve got the potential, and we’ve got the talent. We’ve just got to be able to have multiple facets of our game,” he cautioned. “On those nights that our perimeter shooting is not doing as well, our post game has to really come together. We can’t depend on one area.”
Watts said he’s proud of their steady development and that it helped the Lady Cougars knock off one of the top teams in Class 3A.
“It was a big win. We handled their pressure and didn’t turn the ball over that much off of the press. We didn’t shoot the ball well, but we had a lead that got up to seven and eight points at times. I really think we’re starting to get this figured out,” he said.
The veteran coach added it was a big win for the players after last year with Bowling Green emerging as CA’s district archrival. However, he still sees room for growth.
“This team, we’ve got some length, we’re tall and have some shooters. Presley is doing a good job at point guard, her and Megan, even though neither one of them are really point guards. They probably need to be playing the shooting guard more, so our ball handling is a little suspect and we really need to depend on our passing,” he said.
CA kept the momentum rolling Monday at Oak Forest Academy with a 41-23 victory to pick up its 10th win of the season. Peyton McCain led the charge with a game-high 16 points, five rebounds and three steals, while Lauren McDaniel added nine points and seven boards. Jones and Olivia Adams both corralled seven rebounds as well.
The Lady Cougars will be tested when they return to the floor Jan. 2 when PCS comes to Columbia. PCS beat CA 38-32 in overtime Nov. 21, but the Lady Cougars were without Havard and Rowley. The backcourt duo could flip the rematch in CA’s favor.
CA will resume its district slate Jan. 5 at Lamar Christian and Jan. 7 at Amite School Center.