“I couldn’t be more proud of my guys,” South Atlanta coach Michael Reddick said. “Columbia is ranked No. 1 overall regardless of classification. We knew we were coming in here for a dogfight. An extra incentive was we knew that they hadn’t loss at home in 100 games or so. So we wanted to try and do something [special] and my guys stepped up to the plate.”
Naquavious King scored 22 points and Costa Anderson added 21 for the Hornets, who led the entire game.
“I’m proud of King’s effort tonight,” Reddick said. “If we can get him to stay consistently good or great we can do some damage but it’s a tough region. Anderson played a heck of a game. He looked like his old self. He’s been having some peaks and valleys but he played tremendous tonight.”
After leading by as many as 11 points in the second quarter and 13 in the third period, the Hornets owned just a two-point edge (55-53) with a quarter remaining due to a long 3-pointer at the buzzer by Kyle Wallace (eight points).
Columbia moved within a point twice and for the final time after a pair of free throws by Tahj Shamsid-Deen with 1:09 left. But the Hornets got a huge offensive rebound and turnaround jumper from Terrance Lindsey (nine points, seven boards) seconds later for a 68-65 edge. On the Eagles’ ensuing possession, Wallace missed a long 3-point attempt and the Hornets made five foul shots to rebuild their margin and seal the win.
Kertiss Baisden finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds — nine offensive. Derrick Byrd had six assists and three steals for South Atlanta, which has won the last two meetings with Columbia.
“Kertiss is a guy who anchors us on defense,” Reddick said. “When he’s playing strong, he is the difference maker on our team.”
Shamsid-Deen had 23 points and Brice Brown scored 16, including a rare four-point play, for the Eagles, who missed a noticeable amount of layups en route to having their 16-game winning streak snapped. Last season, Columbia won its third straight Class AAA state title.
South Atlanta visits Banneker on Tuesday.