Jefferson County falls to Columbia in semifinals

Published 12:32 am Sunday, March 2, 2008

JACKSON — The Jefferson County Tigers made a valiant comeback, but couldn’t dig out of an early hole as they saw their season come to an end with a 72-70 loss to Columbia in the Class 3A semifinals at the Mississippi Coliseum.

After being tied at 13 at the end of one quarter, Columbia outscored the Tigers 24-10 in the second quarter to take a 37-23 lead into halftime.

Jefferson County (26-12) came back strong in the second half, outscoring Columbia 22-18 in the third to trim the lead to 10 points.

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They then mounted a furious comeback in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter.

However, Columbia (30-4) would not let Jefferson County climb back over the top, as they made all of their free throws down the stretch to put the win on ice.

“They threw a lot of bodies at us and wore us down,” Jefferson County head coach Marcus Walton said. “The last two minutes of the second quarter were the difference in the game. They turned a two-point lead into a 14-point lead very quickly.”

Walton said his Tigers had chances to come back and win in the fourth quarter, but could not take advantage of opportunities.

“We had a couple of chances there, but we could not get the key shot when we needed one,” Walton said. “Those missed opportunities came back to haunt us.”

Columbia’s victory spoiled a spectacular performance from seniors Kadon Day, who had 28 points and Percy Turner, who scored 26.

“They had great career’s,” Walton said. “They had 17 wins their sophomore year, 25 wins their junior year and 26 wins their senior year. Those are impressive stats. They are going to make someone happy over the next four years because I’ve surely enjoyed them.”

Columbia was led in scoring by Scottie Woodson with 17 points and Nick Magee with 13. Daniel Magee scored 12 and Taylor Kelly had 11 for the Wildcats in the win.

Despite the loss, Walton was proud and thankful of what his team had accomplished this season.

“I want to thank the kids for the heart and desire they showed for me this year,” Walton said. “I want to thank God for keeping us healthy and thank the community for backing us all the way.”