Augmented by the addition of sisters Keiana Gilbert and Aryanna Gilbert, who helped lead Lawrence County to the Class AAA State tournament last year, Columbia simply had too much firepower for MCHS and forged a 40-15 advantage in the first half before opening up a 60-19 cushion midway through the third quarter.
The Tigerettes then put together a 13-0 run with the help of treys from Allison Hargrove, Christy Pettigrew, and Mecia Reed to trim the deficit to 60-32 early in the fourth period before the Lady Lions (2-1) tallied the final eight points of the contest to cruise to their fifth straight victory over Marshall County.
Although MCHS hit 5-of-14 three-point attempts, the Tigerettes mustered only 10 field goals on 26 percent shooting and made just 7-of-15 free throws. Marshall County also struggled breaking Columbia's full court press and committed 26 turnovers while the Lady Lions recorded 17 steals.
"I thought we were going to come out ready for the game and be prepared for how athletic they were, but once we got on the court I think the girls got a little overwhelmed because Columbia might have been more athletic than they thought," said MCHS coach David Junkins. "I was proud that we continued to play hard and thought we continued to compete in the second half. This game was good for us because some of the teams that we face in the District like to press, but aren't as athletic as Columbia."
Despite both coming off the bench, Pettigrew and Hargrove led the Tigerettes with eight and seven points respectively, while Marissa Lyttle and Kemesha McFall both added four points. Morgan Moyers, Kiya Morris, and Reed chipped in three points apiece for Marshall County as well.
"I thought our bench performed really well tonight and actually played better than our starters. Christy knocked down some open shots and Allison made a lot of hustle plays for us," said Junkins.
Columbia, meanwhile, took full advantage of their superior height in the frontcourt and finished with 24 baskets on 49 percent shooting, which included a 4-of-11 effort from beyond the arc. The Lady Lions also knocked down 16-of-24 free throws and outrebounded MCHS 28-25.
Keiana Gilbert paced Columbia with 13 points on six-of-eight shooting, while Cokie Young, Aryanna Gilbert, and Bresha Frierson each tallied eight points with Aryanna Gilbert recording five assists, five steals, and two blocked shots. Makayla Timmons also added seven points and Chesnia Lee had five points. Kaliyah Conway, Deondra Thomas, and Tamijah Kinzer rounded out the scoring for the Lady Lions with four, two, and one point respectively.