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Lawrence Co. girls nip Columbia in 2 OTs

MONTICELLO -Lawrence County and Columbia split a Division 7-4Abasketball doubleheader Tuesday night. In an incredible girls’game, Coach Vicki Rutland’s Lady Cougars edged Columbia 91-86 indouble overtime. In boys’ play, Columbia outscored Lawrence Countyin the fourth quarter to earn a 68-64 win.

The girls’ game left everyone almost too exhausted to give a goodboys’ game all of the attention it deserved. The two teams battledfor 2 and 1/2 hours before Lawrence County finally prevailed,outscoring Columbia 10-5 in the second overtime period. With bothteams playing at a break-neck pace, contesting every inch of thecourt, 9 of the game’s 10 starters fouled out. Lawrence County’sTyra Griffin was the last starter left standing.

“It was an incredible game,” Rutland said. “Both teams gave itevery ounce of energy they had. I was so proud of the effort, bothfrom our front-line players, and from our bench. Columbia has agreat team, and we’ll be in for a battle when we go there, but fornow, we’re happy to be 1-0.”

Rutland’s Lady Cougars improved to 12-5 overall, and 1-0 in thedivision. Tony Woody’s Columbia team fell to 13-2 overall, and 0-1in the league. The Lady Wildcats’ only prior loss was to 6AHattiesburg, a loss they avenged three weeks later.

Lawrence County had victory within its grasp both at the end ofregulation, and at the end of the first overtime, but couldn’t sealthe deal either time. Columbia’s Zana Bridges sent the game intothe first extra period by hitting 1 of 2 free throws with no timeleft on the clock. Bridges led Columbia with 30 points, and centerNettie Lewis dominated inside, scoring 25, 13 of them coming in adramatic, heart-stopping fourth quarter.

Lawrence County got a whopping 37 points from junior TiariaGriffin, and Taylor Brister poured home 24. Mary Margaret McLaurinhit double figures with 11.

Tyra Griffin scored 8, and her ball-handling and leadership wereabsolutely essential when all of her fellow starters had fouled outof the game. Tiaria had 5 rebounds and 4 steals.

Columbia 68, Lawrence 64

The boys’ game was a very good game in its own right. A big thirdquarter by Lawrence County netted the Cougars a 49-45 lead, butLCHS couldn’t stop Columbia in the fourth, as the Wildcatsoutscored the Cougars 23-15.

Columbia’s boys, also coached by Tony Woody, improved to 15-1 withthe win, and 1-0 in the division. The Cougars, coached by PatBridges, fell to 10-7 overall, and 0-1 in Division 7-4A play.

Hakeem Forbes scored 8 of his 15 points in the decisive fourthquarter to pace the Wildcats. Center Dominique Tovell added 12points, and Donovan Newton had 11.

David Haynes led Lawrence County with 21 points, and BrandonDaniels added 15.

Lawrence County will resume division play at Crystal Springs onFriday.