As the Lady Grangers prepared for the rematch on Friday, head coach Jan Jones felt it was critical for her team to avoid a similar start.
Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.
The Lady Grangers found themselves in an 18-6 hole after the first period, and while they found their footing and played much better the rest of the way, Columbia held on for a 61-47 victory.
“The first quarter killed us, and that’s the way it was last year,” LaGrange head coach Jan Jones said. “We knew coming out of the gate we’d have to stop their momentum, and we just couldn’t do that.”
The Lady Grangers didn’t let the game get away from them, though.
The Eagles were up 30-16 at the half, and they led 38-24 through three periods.
The Lady Grangers made a move and got within eight within two minutes remaining, but Columbia pulled away from there for the win.
In the end, Jones felt the difficult first quarter was the difference.
“That was our game plan going in was to slow them down from the tip, and we didn’t do that,” Jones said.
The loss capped a terrific season for the Lady Grangers, who finished 23-7 and won a state-tournament game against Stephens County.
It was also the final game for a handful of seniors who helped the program enjoy tremendous success the past four seasons.
Among that group is guard Brittany Tatum, who leaves as the program’s all-time leading scorer.
The other seniors, all of whom have been with the program for four years, are Steara Mitchell, KaBrenna Smith, Breanna Grant, Danielle Dowell and Tajah Banks.