Columbia High School stepped out of the Huntsville area, they even stepped outside of Alabama, to participate in 2010 Spalding Hoophall Classic Tournament at Springfield College in the state of Massachusetts. The Eagles got the loss, but came away with huge experience, playing one of the top programs nationwide in the Central Golden Eagles from Springfield, Mass. Central won the game by a count of 74-63.
The start of the game was all Columbia, as Robert Flowers dropped in the first score to pace the Eagles to a 10-point lead in the first quarter and Columbia winding up on top heading into the second quarter 23-14. Then it all fell apart for Columbia, only scoring a combined 18 points in the second and third quarters.
“I thought we played well considering it was our fourth game in six days and mixed in was a day of air travel, which was the first for many of the players,” Columbia head coach Jeff Cooper said of his teams performance in the Spalding Hoophall Classic. “It is a first-class event, regarded as the best of its kind in the country. It was quite an experience that we will all remember for a lifetime.”
Unfortunately for the Eagles, Central was able to adjust and find its transition game and was able to hit some key outside shots to open up the defense of Columbia. Before Columbia could rebound themselves, they found themselves on a 21-point negative swing and down 46-35 with 4:19 left in the third quarter and could not recover.
The key factor on the offensive end of the court that hurt Columbia was a horrid effort at 3-point shooting. Something that is not commonly a problem with the Eagles, but Columbia did not connect on one single shot beyond the arc in 17 attempts. The highlight was free-throw shooting, as the team combined for a percentage of 8-out-of-10 shots made. Denzel Harrison and Doug Moss were each perfect from the charity stripe.
Dionte Kelly led Columbia with 19 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and a steal, Moss followed with 14 points, five deflected passes and six boards, Robert Flowers finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and a steal, Hosie Seal, Patrick Smart and Marlin Clemmons each contributed with four points and Harrison, Roderick Fisher and Kantwon Rodgers each chipped in two points.
Central was led by Jordan Smith with a game-high 23 points, a blocked shot, six rebounds and two steals, Jaylen Brantley contributed with four each in assists and rebounds, 19 points and blocked shot, Victor Aytche added 17 points, three assists and two steals, and Cornelius Tyson added six points, two assists and a steal.