Although they had already clinched a berth in the south state tournament, the Lady Cougars lost their chance at the District 4 title with a loss in the semifinals Friday night.
But Columbia Academy (14-20) still has everything in front of it as it began play in the south state tournament Wednesday afternoon. The Lady Cougars played Tri-County Academy (District 3 No. 2) in the first round, but results were unavailable at press time. The Lady Cougars would play either Bowling Green or Riverfield Academy in the south state semifinals Friday evening at 5:15 with a win over Tri-County.
A win over Tri-County would also clinch a spot in the Class 3A tournament next week at Canton Academy, with the top four teams from the south automatically advancing.
Head coach Dale Watts said Monday that Tri-County is very similar to Lamar Christian, who beat CA by four points in the district tournament.
“They may not be quite as long, but they’re very similar. They have a point guard very similar to the one at Lamar that can handle the ball and shoot it,” he said.
Watts added he believes the Lady Cougars aren’t overmatched and that it’s a winnable game.
In the district tournament semifinals against Lamar, CA had a lead in the fourth quarter but Lamar was able to make some shots from the perimeter to pull ahead for a 30-26 victory.
“They really have two players that can really shoot it, but a third player hit a couple of threes that really hurt us. We couldn’t quite overcome that,” Watts said.
Presley Dease led the Lady Cougars with a 10-point, 11-rebound double, while Kylan Reagan added seven points and Lauren McDaniel five points.
Heading into the district tournament, Watts said he was concerned about playing teams a third time. But he said Monday that he believes it actually played into the Lady Cougars’ favor in the consolation game 37-35 win over Amite School Center Saturday.
“Amite has two really, really strong players. We were a little bit sluggish to begin with, but the game got extremely physical and we ended up having the lead late in the game,” he said. “That last 54 seconds took about 10 minutes because there was a lot of fouling going on, but the girls managed to make good decisions and win the game.”
Olivia Adams led CA with 11 points and 12 rebounds, and Peyton McCain contributed 10 points and six boards. Maggie Wilks rounded out the scoring with eight points.
Pictured Above: Columbia Academy's Olivia Adams drives into the paint against Copiah Academy. | Photo by Joshua Campbell