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Columbia slows down Warriors

MERRY HILL – Columbia High School avenged an earlier loss to Lawrence Academy here Thursday night.

The Wildcats slowed the pace against the Warriors and the idea worked as Columbia came away with a 36-28 victory.

“The Cats slowed the tempo way down and did everything they could to keep our squad from pushing the tempo. And, it worked,” said second-year Lawrence Coach Jon Powell. “Unable to force the tempo, we found ourselves in an excruciatingly slow game, and every play seemed magnified in importance as a result.”

The game went slowly with the teams combining for 11 points in the first quarter and 15 in the second.

Lawrence actually held an early 3-2 lead after a Chase Stevens bucket and a free throw by Chad Whitehead, but Columbia scored three straight hoops to take an 8-3 lead after the first quarter.

Stevens buried a triple to start the second quarter, but the Wildcats got hoops from Donovan Liverman and Angus Spencer to push their lead back to 12-6.

A triple by Trace Larabee and a Stevens hoop got the Warriors back within one (12-11), but that is as close as they got the remainder of the half and they trailed 14-12 heading into the locker room at halftime.

Columbia was able to extend their lead to five (25-20) by the end of the third quarter, but it wasn’t easy as the Warriors battled the entire period.

Spencer sandwiched two hoops around a Larabee bucket for Lawrence to start the third quarter, but Stevens hit a three-pointer to cut the lead back to one (18-17).

Columbia then surged to a six-point lead after a Spencer hoop and a Montrel Dunbar triple, but Stevens hit a three-pointer to counter for the Warriors. A Liverman hoop gave the Wildcats the five-point lead heading into the final period.

Lawrence scored six of the first 10 points thanks to a pair of hoops by Whitehead and a bucket by Evan Holton as they closed within 28-26 with 4:21 to play.

The Wildcats, however, scored the next seven points to take a 35-26 lead and held on for the final.

Lawrence was paced by Stevens’ 13 points while Larabee scored seven and Whitehead chipped in five points. Holton had two for the Warriors while Patrick Dilday added one.

Liverman and Spencer led Columbia with 11 points while Dunbar added eight.

Lawrence dropped to 3-2 overall with the loss and will travel to Oakwood School Monday night.