The Columbia Lady Eagles overcame a lot during this Covid-19 season and were inches from going to the Class 2A Final Four in their 56-55 home loss to the No. 9 ranked Butler Bulldogs on Wednesday afternoon.
A short bench got even shorter as Columbia lost two starters to knee injuries in the past two weeks leaving them with nine players heading into the matchup with Butler.
Butler took advantage of the inexperience of the Lady Eagles called into fulltime duty to lead by double digits of 10 or more six times in the game the last at 53-43 with 4:02 to play on a Jayla Thomas layup.
One of the more experienced bench players Tekiarah Jones stepped up with a big momentum changing three-pointer as India Terrell found her open on the wing. Jones shot swished the net to cut the Bulldogs lead to seven (53-46) with 3:47 to play that seemed to give the jolt Columbia needed.
After a put back by Butler’s Tamesha Slater Terrell scored six consecutive points via a pair of free throws, a steal and a pull up in the lane to go with a free throw by Jones to pull the Eagles within 55-53 with 1:33 to play in the game.
Freshman Nia Anderson who missed the first 10 games of the season had her role increased with the loss of second leading scorer Keyonna Giles and post player Kamiyah Kennedy came through with a big offensive stick back under the goal to knot the game at 55 with 48 seconds to play.
The two teams traded misses and Mic’Kayla Spivey came up with a big steal underneath the Columbia basket and the Eagles called timeout with 28.7 seconds left on the clock.
Terrell who had willed and encouraged her teammates the entire game got the ball and bumped in traffic lofted a shot to the goal that rolled off and was rebounded by Thomas who got it up the floor to Brionna Sims. Sims collided with a Columbia player on a drive to the basket and drew a blocking call.
Sims went to the line with two shots with 4.9 seconds remaining and hit the first one for a 56-55 advantage. Columbia rebounded the ball and Terrell drove the court and again jostled in traffic down the lane got off a shot before the buzzer that bounced on the rim, rolled around and off as the buzzer sounded ending a remarkable season.
Giles and Freeman missed the first 10 games of the season and Terrell missed four games due to a car accident as Columbia struggled to a 1-6 start. As they got their players back into action things began to click and they won 16 of their next 17 games and the Region 6-2A championship to reach the quarterfinals.
Terrell’s game-high 29 points put her at 501 for the season, a county leading 22.8 points per game and 1,401 career points. She also has over 400 rebounds, 270 steals and 220 assists on her career. In the three state playoff games she averaged 30 points per game.
Freshman Nia Anderson finished with a 10-point, 14-rebound double-double to aid the Eagles cause.
Butler got a 19-point, 13-rebound performance from Jayla Thomas, 15 points from Breonna Sims and 11 points from Tamesha Slater in the win.
DCSD STATE PLAYOFF RESULTS
ELITE 8 – QUARTERFINALS
Wednesday, Mar. 3
Class 4A Boys
Baldwin (15-0) 58, Miller Grove (15-5) 52
Class 2A Boys
Columbia (20-6) 49, Washington Co. (16-2) 47
Class 2A Girls
Butler (21-4) 56, Columbia (17-8) 55
DCSD STATE PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
FINAL FOUR – SEMIFINALS
Saturday, Mar. 6
Class 2A Boys
Columbia (20-6) at Lovett (20-7)