High School Sports

Columbus uses strong second half to pull away from Mundy's Mill

Columbus' Tatyana Wyatt taking the ball to the hoop against Mundy's Mill Tuesday night during the 1st round of the GHSA State Playoffs February 16, 2016
Columbus' Tatyana Wyatt taking the ball to the hoop against Mundy's Mill Tuesday night during the 1st round of the GHSA State Playoffs February 16, 2016 photo@ledger-enquirer.com

It was the tale of two halves Tuesday at Columbus High School. After scoring just 25 points in the first half, the Lady Blue Devils put up 42 in the second half en route to a 67-44 win over Mundy's Mill in the first round of the Georgia High School Association playoffs.

The Lady Blue Devils' interior game stole the show in the first half. The 6-foot, 3-inch Ariyah Copeland dominated the paint against the Lady Tigers in the first two quarters, scoring all of her 13 points in the first half and leading all scorers heading into the locker room.

"The first half, I saw we were kind of getting pushed around a bit, so I tried to help our teammates out by getting the ball inside and scoring and getting some momentum going," said Copeland.

After halftime, Mundy's

Mill adjusted in the interior, allowing players like junior guard Tatyana Wyatt to step up from the outside. Wyatt scored the first 10 points of the second half for either team en route to a game high 30 point night.

"We just went in the locker room and talked about what we needed to do," said Wyatt. We knew we were the more athletic team. We always seem to start slow in the first half, but we pick it up."

"In the second half, they started double-teaming me, so I found opportunities to get my teammates the basketball," said Copeland.

"Ariyah is an excellent passer, so once she caught the ball, she'd kick out," Lady Blue Devils head coach Joe Cherrone said of the second half adjustment. "We just had to mix it up on them a little bit."

Cherrone said his team adjusted well in the final two quarters to win the game going away.

"We executed better in the second half," Cherrone said. "We come out sluggish sometimes, but I told the girls it's a playoff game. You have to play four quarters of basketball. The next game, we can't just show up for one half and take care of the game. They have to relax, slow down, do what they know how to do, and play basketball."

After dispatching the Lady Tigers on Tuesday, the Lady Blue Devils turn their sights to the Lady Red Elephants of Gainesville High School, who beat Hiram 69-66 in overtime on Tuesday night to advance to the second round of the GHSA playoffs and a date with Columbus.

"Height-wise, I think we're a lot bigger than Gainesville is; speed-wise, I don't know since I haven't seen anyone on tape yet," said Cherrone. "It'll be interesting to see, but I think we'll be prepared and ready to go on Friday."

Both Copeland and Wyatt had the exact same answer when asked about facing Gainesville on Friday.

"I'm ready."

Tuesday at Columbus

Mundy's Mill 13 9 8 14--44

Columbus 12 13 14 28--67

Mundy's Mill (44)

Kiara Glenn 10, Harrison 9, Celestin 6, Kiana Glenn 6, Johnson 5, Beasley 4, Gates 2, Igbokwe 2.

Columbus (67)

Tatyana Wyatt 30, Ariyah Copeland 13, Scott 6, Williams 6, Griffin 4, Walker 4, Rivers 2, Vasquez 2.

Records: Mundy's Mill, 17-9; Columbus, 22-5. Next: Mundy's Mill, end of season; Columbus, Friday, home vs. Gainesville in Class 5A second round.