For most of the first three quarters, the Shaw boys basketball team failed to exploit its size advantage against a pesky Columbus High team determined to atone for two blowout losses to the Raiders during the regular season.
Then Raiders coach Anthony Jenkins put the ball in Torrion Brummitt’s hands.
Brummitt overpowered Columbus inside in the fourth quarter to lead Shaw past the Blue Devils 61-55 in a Region 6-AAA playoff matchup Tuesday night.
Shaw (20-4) beat Columbus 69-52 and 67-46 during the regular season, but the Blue Devils (17-8) kept themselves in the game despite a slow night from leading scorer Jevan Billinger.
Coming off of a 25-point performance Monday night, Billinger scored 16 points, but he had trouble finding a rhythm early against a Shaw defense geared to keep a man close at all times.
Blue Devils forward Frankie Mincey picked up the slack. Mincey buried three 3-pointers and scored 13 first-half points in an outburst that kept Columbus within striking distance, 30-24, at the half.
Mincey finished with a game-high 21 points.
“That was big,” Columbus coach Mark Day said. “He was keeping us in it. Billinger’s been a great scorer for us for four years, and he had a rough night tonight. Everybody was there to pick up the pieces.”
Shaw’s Devonte Tolbert scored 14 points to keep the Raiders out in front briefly in the third quarter, but Billinger finally found his range and brought Columbus High back in the third quarter.
At the end of the third, the game was tied at 42.
Columbus spent the first three quarters harassing Shaw’s guards and making it difficult to get the ball into the paint. Going into the fourth quarter, the 6-foot-6 Brummitt had no points.
Shaw made sure the big guy got the ball down the stretch. Repeatedly feeding the ball inside to Brummitt and Joe Purter, Shaw pulled ahead in the fourth quarter. Behind 10 fourth-quarter points from Brummitt, the Raiders had a 57-50 lead with 1:50 left in the game.
But the Blue Devils refused to go away. Mincey’s layup and Billinger’s 3-pointer cut the gap to just two points with 46 seconds left in the game, but then Shaw’s size came into play again.
On a missed free throw by Brummitt, teammate Tim Straughter pulled down the offensive board, got fouled and knocked down two free throws that effectively sealed it.
“They came out with a lot of intensity, more so than we did, and they stayed close,” Jenkins said. “But they didn’t have anybody as big as we did down low.”
Tuesday at Shaw
Columbus 12 12 18 13--55
Shaw 14 16 12 19--61
Frankie Mincey 21, Jevan Billinger 16, David Taylor 8, Brett Barrientes 6, Carlin Johnson 2, Charlie Houpt 2.
Devonte Tolbert 14, Torrion Brummitt 10, Cedarius Brantley 6, Joe Purter 6, Rodrick Wilburn 6, Tim Straughter 5, Brandon Jackson 4, Ramon Turner 4, Lavon Mitchell 2, Deionte’ Corprew 2, Antonio Graves 2.
Team record: Columbus 7-19, Shaw 20-4. Next: Shaw vs. Carrolton at Troup, time TBA.