Nine third quarter turnovers by the No. 4 ranked Columbia Eagles contributed to No. 1 ranked Pace Academy salting away a 73-42 victory in the Class 2A Boys’ State Championship at the Macon Coliseum on Thursday afternoon.
The Eagles (21-7) stumbled out of the gate trailing 25-11 with 5:01 left in the first half. Columbia managed to put together an 8-2 run to close the gap in the final 3:55 of the second quarter to close within 29-21 at the break.
Big baskets by Julius Coleman and Julius Lymon gave the Eagles some momentum heading into the half.
The third quarter turned the momentum back to the Knights (28-1) as Columbia turned the ball over nine times in the period. Several of the turnovers came in an 18-1 run by Pace to put the game in their back pocket.
Steals by Madison Durr and Josh Reed led to easy baskets and when Durr and Josh Mininberg hit back-to-back threes set up by turnovers the Knights had a 47-22.
Pace shot 68.4 percent in the third quarter on the way to scoring 34 points to seal the second state title in two years for the Knights.
Pace finished hitting 26 of 43 shots for 60.5 percent for the game while the Eagles struggled to hit 16 of 47 shots for 34.0 percent and were 0 for 12 from behind the three-point arc.
Mason Lockhart led the Eagles with nine points and 5 rebounds and Kawasiki Ricks added nine points. Julius Coleman contributed seven points, Rashard Headges five points and Julius Lymon had four points and 10 rebounds.
Matthew Cleveland had a game-high 24 points to lead all-scorers for the Knights along with seven rebounds, Madison Durr added 15 points and Josh Reed added 14 points and eight rebounds.
It was the third consecutive finals loss for the Eagles who fell in the Class 3A finals in 2013 and 2014. Coach Phil McCrary lost his first finals as head coach since the 2007 season. Columbia is 58-19 in the playoffs to lead DeKalb County and it includes five state titles all under the direction of McCrary.
See link below for final box score from the Class 2A State Championship: