Columbia’s Nia Anderson pulls up for a layup in second half action of the Lady Eagles’ tough 44-37 loss to Central of Macon in Class 2A girls’ state playoff action at Columbia on Tuesday. (Photo by Mark Brock)

The Columbia Lady Eagles rallied back from 22-7 halftime deficit but succumbed to foul trouble as the Central Macon Chargers held on for a 44-37 Class 2A girls’ state playoff quarterfinal win at Columbia on Tuesday night.

Central (26-4) jumped out to an early 9-0 on the way to a 22-7 halftime advantage against the homestanding Lady Eagles (24-6).

Columbia opened the second with a three-pointer by Nia Anderson to start a 17-6 run in the third quarter. Keamaura Robinson followed a pair of free throws with a three-point play to close it to 27-23 with 1:04 to play in period.

Both teams hit one free throw in the final 37 seconds and the Eagles were in striking distance down four heading into the fourth quarter.

Anderson opened the fourth quarter with another three-pointer and then hit a 15-foot jumper with 5:41 to play to give Columbia a 31-30 lead.

The two teams traded one free throw each and Columbia was up 32-31 with 4:52 to play. Central’s Alaya Grane tied it back up with 4:28 to play with another single free throw.

Robinson got a nice pass from Anderson for a layup to put Columbia up 34-32 with 4:12 remaining.

Five consecutive fouls called on Columbia in 34 second span led to two put backs for baskets for Central to go up 36-34 and two free throws by Grane to extend the lead to 38-34.

Columbia’s Robinson would foul out with 2:27 to play and Grane would go on to hist five of six free throws in the final 1:05 to seal the win for the Chargers.

Columbia’s seniors led the way in the game as Robinson finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds and Nia Anderson added 13 points.

Central got 18 points from Grande who was 11-16 from the free-throw line including 9-12 in the fourth quarter Aniya Dugger contributed 12 points (all in the first half on four three-pointers).

Class 5A Girls
The Arabia Mountain Lady Rams fell behind at the half to the Dalton Lady Catamounts who opened the gap in the second half on the way to a 71-52 Class 5A girls’ state playoff quarterfinal game at Arabia Mountain on Tuesday night.

Dalton (21-9) held a slim 19-17 lead heading into the second quarter and extended it to 34-26 at the break. By the time, the third quarter was over Dalton led 64-32.

Arabia Mountain (27-3) put up 20 points in the final quarter, but it was too little, too late.

Tuesday, Feb. 27
Class 5A Girls
Dalton (21-9) 71, Arabia Mountain (27-3) 52
Class 2A Girls
Central Macon (26-4) 44, Columbia (24-6) 37

Wednesday, Feb. 28
Class 5A Boys
Maynard Jackson (20-8) at Tucker (23-5), 6:00 pm
Class 2A Boys
Columbia (27-3) at Southwest Macon (18-8), 6:00 pm