In a game where their size was no longer an advantage, Columbus juniors Tatyana Wyatt and Ariyah Copeland still shined.
Wyatt scored 24 and Copeland added 19 to lead the Lady Blue Devils to a 73-47 win over visiting Harris County on Tuesday night.
They were going up against 6-foot-4 sophomore Jessika Carter, who scored 18 points for Harris County, inside, but were still able to find ways to produce consistently at a high level.
“There aren’t many games where you’re going to face size like that, and Jessika does a great job defending the lane,” Columbus coach Joe Cherrone said. “But Tatyana and Ariyah’s basketball IQ is so high, they were able to find other ways to score.”
Wyatt consistently created for herself inside, using a handful of tricky spin moves to get leverage on her defenders. She also stepped outside to knock down a trio of three-pointers in the game. Copeland, as usual, was big on the glass and found a number of outback lay-ins.
The result was a wide margin of victory that made the team 14-1 overall and 4-1 in Region 1-5A play. Harris County, which has shown a huge improvement over a year ago, dropped to 11-4 overall and 1-2 in the region.
Columbus started the game in control, leading 24-8 after the first quarter. After trading baskets early to make the score 10-6, Columbus went on a 14-2 run to close out the first quarter with a big lead. The team suffered through a second-quarter lapse, though, that Cherrone lamented after the game.
“They just took a break in the second quarter,” he said. “We went from scoring 24 in the first to getting outscored. I just told them to forget about it and wake back up in the third.”
Wyatt scored 15 of her 24 points in the second half and Brittany Floyd added six in the final quarter to put the game away. The Lady Tigers briefly got within 14 points with a minute left in the third quarter, but were never any closer than that.
“They held on and did what they were supposed to do,” Cherrone said. “We regrouped at halftime and played well after that.”
While Wyatt and Copeland had the biggest nights, Cherrone added that one of the keys was the play of Floyd, who finished the game with 13 points.
“She was huge tonight,” he said. “That’s how I expect her to play every night. If we can get that from her all the time, we have a chance to go a long way.”
Wyatt, Copeland and Carter have each garnered major Division-I college attention already during their time in high school. Tuesday night was no different, as scouts from North Carolina, Wake Forest and Auburn were all seen in the stands.
They did not disappoint, as each put up strong performances in the game. Harris County freshman Taziha Fanning was also in double-figures with 14 points.
COLUMBUS BOYS 75, HARRIS COUNTY 73
A close game went down to the wire between the Harris County and Columbus boys on Tuesday night, as a last-second three-pointer just missed for the Tigers to give the Blue Devils a 75-73 win.
Columbus was led in the victory boy Noah Lott’s 20 points, Elijah Gardner’s 19, JaQuan Mason’s 13 and J.C. Houpt’s 12. In the loss, Harris County got 22 each from Jaylyn Richardson and D.J. Jackson and 12 from Riqueito Leonard.
Tuesday at Columbus
Harris County 8 15 12 12—47
Columbus 24 11 18 20—73
Harris County (47)
Jessika Carter 18, Taziha Fanning 14, Keith 9, Crowder 5, Dumas 1.
Tatyana Wyatt 24, Ariyah Copeland 19, Brittany Floyd 13, Vasquez 8, Scott 5, Williams 2, Griffin 2.
Records: Harris County, 11-4, 1-2; Columbus, 14-1, 4-1. Next: Harris County, Friday at Carver; Columbus, Friday at Northside.
Tuesday at Columbus
Harris County 20 19 10 24—73
Columbus 18 19 13 25—75
Harris County (73)
Jaylyn Richardson 22, D.J. Jackson 22, Riqueito Leonard 12, Holloway 6, Copeland 4, Jarrett 3, Coker 1
Noah Lott 20, Elijah Gardner 19, JaQuan Mason 13, J.C. Houpt 12, Smith 6, Dalton 3, Thornton 2.
Records: Harris County, 4-10, 0-3; Columbus, 6-9, 2-3. Next: Harris County, Friday at Carver; Columbus, Friday at Northside.