By Chris Yow
LEIPERS FORK — Drew Butt had no trouble finding his rhythm on the road at Grace Christian, as the Columbia Academy junior guard found the net three times in his first three trips down the floor.
Despite a valiant effort from the Lions, thanks to a 20-point effort from Butt, CA never trailed en route to a 63-55 win in district play.
The second win over Grace Christian (7-16, 5-8 D-II-A District 3) in as many days snapped a six-game losing streak for the Dawgs (14-7, 9-6), but Columbia Academy coach Marty DeJarnette was proud of his team’s resilience to get back in the win column.
“It’s been a tough stretch. They’re not really used to that, but the way they’ve battled back and gutted it out is huge for us,” he said. “We’re starting to get some rhythm and they’re showing some toughness.”
Butt’s rhythm early was necessary because the Lions seemed to have an answer for every shot the Bulldogs hit. With 11 of the game’s first 12 buckets coming from behind the arc, both teams knew getting stops would be the key to winning.
Following a 3-pointer from Grace’s Dean Bechman to open the second quarter, which cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 20-18, the visitors were able to get those necessary stops and pulled away with an 8-0 run, including four more points from Butt. Columbia Academy took a 30-25 lead to the break with momentum.
Coming out of the locker rooms, the Bulldogs pushed their lead to 34-25 with a Tanner Ham layup and Collins Malone steal and two-hand jam. Later in the quarter, Ham knocked down a long ball and then drained three free throws after being fouled on another 3-point attempt. Butt then extended the lead to 14 points — the largest of the game — with his third trey of the game.
On the transition to defense, Butt was whistled for a technical foul, and the Bulldogs’ momentum ended.
Grace took advantage of the situation, finishing the third quarter on a 12-4 run, and cutting the lead back to five points. The Lions finished with 13 3-pointers in the game.
“We knew how tough it was going to be to win over here with Senior Night and the emotion with all of that,” DeJarnette said. “Really proud of our guys withstanding a few big runs from them.”
Columbia Academy hoped the timeout prior to the fourth quarter would allow the Bulldogs to gain some composure, but a quick 3 from Dawson Bechman put the Lions back in control before Butt once again put the team on his back.
A pair of buckets from Butt extended the lead to 54-47, and a Hayden Morgan trey forced the Lions to regroup. Regroup they did, though, and a 3-pointer from Trace Phillips was followed by a pair of free throws from Will Beasley that cut the lead to two points.
The Bulldogs’ ability to hit late free throws, however, sealed the win. Columbia Academy knocked down 6-of-7 from the stripe in the final frame and were able to force tough shots to keep Grace at bay earning themselves a tough road win.
“In the tournament, it’s going to be about getting stops,” DeJarnette said. “If you can couple scoring with a stop on the other end, it’s huge.
“Our guys executed everything we asked them to do.”
Late three lifts Lady Lions over CA
Campbell Spencer set her feet just outside the 3-point arc, caught the pass and knocked down the shot to lift Grace Christian to a 40-39 win over Columbia Academy on Tuesday.
The Lions (6-11, 4-7 DII-A District 3) led for the entire first half, but Columbia Acad. (7-14, 3-12) was able to earn its first advantage with 4:36 to go in the third quarter on a Karli Quillen jumper as part of a 10-0 run. The Lady ‘Dogs held the lead the rest of the way until Spencer’s trey with ten seconds to play.
From the onset, Grace looked to be in control, using a stifling defense to hold Columbia Academy to two points in the first quarter. Over the next two quarters, however, the Lady ‘Dogs outscored the Lions 29-19, taking a 31-27 lead to the final frame.
Grace Christian’s Charlie Black kept her team within striking distance in the second half, scoring 12 of her game-high 19 points in that timeframe. Aubrey Black’s only points of the game came on a 3-ball with 3:15 to go, cutting the lead to two points and giving life back to her team.
As hot as the Lions’ were in the fourth quarter, Columbia Academy was as cold — especially from the foul line. The Lady Dogs were 2-of-7, including missing the front end of a 1-and-1 bonus, at the stripe in the fourth.
Columbia Acad. boys 63, Grace Chr. 55
C 20 10 19 14 — 63
G 15 10 19 11 — 55
Columbia Acad. (63) — Tanner Ham 17, Chase Duncan 6, Hayden Morgan 8, Drew Butt 20, Will Jackson 4, Collins Malone 4, Griffin Cooper 4
Grace Chr. (55) — Dean Bechman 11, Ashton Kelley 3, Will Beasley 7, Dawson Bechman 5, Jackson Hiett 15, CJ Tinnon 8, Trace Phillips 6
3-pointers — Columbia Acad. 9 (Butt 4, Duncan 2, Morgan 2, Ham), Grace Chr. 13 (Hiett 5, De. Bechman 3, Kelley, Beasley, Da. Bechman, Tinnon, Phillips)
Grace Chr. girls 40, Columbia Acad. 39
C 2 10 19 8 — 39
G 8 8 11 13 — 40
Columbia Acad. (39) — Jaelyn Hickerson 1, Isabelle Dees 5, Averi Slaughter 2, Madi Lewis 16, Abbigail Adkins 3, Karli Quillin 12
Grace Chr. (40) — Campbell Spencer 9, Adyson Wolf 1, Aubrey Black 3, Charlie Black 19, Averi Thorne 4, Carlie Mason 4
3-pointers — Columbia Acad. 2 (Lewis, Adkins), Grace Chr. 5 (Spencer 3, Black, Mason)
Photos by Sarah Yow / SM-Tn Sports