"It's nice to get back in this environment and be able to play in front of such a great crowd, wow!" said MCHS head coach Jason Tigert. "Anytime we can get a 'W' over Columbia is good."
Vandy signee Kedren Johnson was bumped and banged all night by the Lions, but ended up with 26 points to lead a balanced scoring attack.
Brock Spencer got things going early, banging down a three-bomb on the Tigers' first possession and after a Lion turnover, Kevin Peterson went deep too, igniting the raucous Tiger student section.
It was nip and tuck the remainder of the first period until Johnson drained a three-pointer at the buzzer for a 17-12 MCHS lead.
Early in the second quarter, Johnson put in a Tiger miss with a nice follow and Jordan Anderson scored underneath moments later, opening the Tiger lead to 21-12.
Columbia came back, cutting the MCHS lead to five points at 21-16 before the Tiger bench came up huge.
Barry Mayes and Broderick Tears sparked the Tigers, combining for six points and two steals in the second quarter as MCHS pulled ahead, 31-18 at the half.
Tigert said about the duo, "Huge minutes from Broderick Tears and Barry Mayes tonight. Those two guys defended well and created some turnovers and got us going."
Tigert said about the beating Johnson took, "He is so strong, a lot of times he gets bumped and doesn't fall down. Sometimes his strength works against him. We just have to adjust, bottom line."
The Lions could only get as close as eight points by quarter's end, trailing 41-33.
In the fourth quarter, Johnson took over the ballgame, running the offense from the point, bobbing and weaving his way through traffic or pulling up for a three-pointer on his way to an eight point period.
Central never recovered from the huge momentum shift and fell behind by as much as twenty points at 55-35 before Tigert emptied the bench for good.
Spencer ended up with 9 points on three treys, Peterson scored 8 points, Mayes scored six, Tears had four, Tim Hutton 3, Corbin Clack and Jordan Anderson had two points apiece, and Cameron Bowers ended up with 1 point.
Jarvis Webster led the Columbia scoring attack with 17 points, Davanta Hamlett had 11, Colton Provey 6, Pillow scored five, Taylor Walls ended up with 4, Rhyhiem McKissack scored three, and Terrell Buchanon 2.
After carving their turkeys, the Tigers go back on the road, travelling to Peoria, Illinois on Friday and Saturday to partake in the State Farm Classic.
"This time of year, it is all about getting better and preparing ourselves for Murfreesboro," said Tigert. "We as a program have to look at the big picture. We are worried less about our opponent, more about Marshall County."
Tigert's Tigers return to Lewisburg next Tuesday for a match-up with Lawrence County.