Despite having three seventh graders in their starting lineup, Cornersville put up a tough fight in the first half and trailed just 22-17 at the break. The Bulldogs, though, were unable to keep pace with CA in the second half, as Columbia Academy outscored CMS 21-10 over the final two quarters to pull away for the 16-point victory.
"Columbia Academy is pretty good. They were 2-0 coming into tonight and won those two games by 20 plus points," said Cornersville coach Adrian Wilson. "Our kids played hard, but they're inexperienced. We need to play a little smarter, but that will come with experience."
Aided by a 11-of-19 shooting performance from center Taylor Thompson, CA finished with an 18-11 edge in field goals while outscoring the Bulldogs 6-3 at the foul line. Columbia Academy also outrebounded Cornersville 32-24 and held a 16-6 edge on the offensive glass.
Thompson led CA with 24 points, 14 rebounds, five steals, and a blocked shot, while Jeffrey Shires and Charlie Harris tallied seven and five points respectively.
Point guard Dayveontae Brown paced CMS with 15 points and four assists, and reserve guard J.D Crabtree added six points on two treys. Justin Singleton also chipped in four points, eight rebounds, and four steals, while Dillard Hatchett had two points.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 6-5 lead midway through the first quarter thanks to a pair of field goals from Singleton and a Hatchett layup, before CA went on a 12-3 run to pull ahead 17-9 early in the second period.
Brown then hit two runners and a couple of pull up jumpers to narrow the gap to 19-17 late in the second quarter, but Columbia Academy scored the final three points of the half to push their lead to 22-17 prior to tallying the first eight points of the third period to open up a 30-17 advantage.
After Cornersville outscored CA 7-2 over the next two minutes behind four points from Brown and a Crabtree three-pointer to trim the deficit to 32-24 late in the third, Columbia Academy responded with a 10-2 spurt to stretch their lead to 42-26 with 1:38 left in the fourth period before claiming the 43-27 victory.