Surviving the storm
District play tends to bring out the drama, and Columbia and Lake Weir delivered their share Tuesday night.
After the Tigers barely edged the Hurricanes four weeks ago, both teams clashed again for another tight contest that wasn’t decided until the final seconds.
Columbia swingman Darrell Jones scored eight of his team’s last 10 points as the Tigers outlasted the Hurricanes again, winning 50-46 Tuesday night.
Despite snapping a three-game losing streak, Columbia coach Steve Faulkner wasn’t thrilled about the first victory of 2016.
“We’re working our way through it right now,” Faulkner said. “We have lot of young guys — who haven’t been in the spotlight before — getting playing time, so we’re learning our way through. It’s frustrating on my end.”
Columbia managed to crawl out of a 14-point hole by finding a groove offensively and causing a bevy of turnovers in the second half.
“I just feel fortunate that we got out with a win,” Faulkner added. “It could’ve been worse.”
After a Jones’ layup and free throw down the stretch, the Tigers pushed out to a 48-42 advantage with 1:07 left in regulation.
Columbia’s celebration was on hold when Hurricanes guard Jordyn Riley netted a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 3 thereafter.
Under a minute remaining, Jones sealed the game with a pair of free throws. Columbia’s star player finished with a team-high 15 points and 10 rebounds.
For the second-straight meeting, the Hurricanes received strong performances from Devontae Bynes, who finished with 15 points, and Riley with 12 points.
Jones and company, though, came up empty in the opening quarter — scoring just two points — while Lake Weir got off to a hot start.
Columbia’s woes continued early in the second quarter, but back-to-back 3-pointers from Derontay Levy would ignite the Tigers’ 13-0 scoring run.
Jones’ layup with 49 seconds left in the first half gave Columbia its first lead since the opening minute.
Lake Weir (10-8, 1-6) wouldn’t retake the lead again as Columbia (7-6, 4-2) earned its first sweep of the season.
The Tigers look to continue their district dominance tonight against Forest.