Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Columbia sticks to its strengths

Some things just never change. Columbia stuck to the things that has worked so well since the turn of the century and had little trouble claiming an 82-52 win over McNair at the Dekalb County Thanksgiving Classic on Lithonia High School on Wednesday afternoon.

The AAAA powerhouse took advantage of its size, speed and athleticism to come away with an easy victory to start the season off strong.

Senior Travis Leslie led all scorers with 25 points (10-17 FG, 5-11 FT) while South Carolina bound center Darius Morrow added 16 points (7-11 FG, 2-3 FT) and 11 rebounds in the victory.

Columbia has relied heavily on a dominant big man for years. This year is looking no different with Morrow anchoring the middle. Leslie, last year's top scorer and rebounder for the Eagles, was too athletic and strong for McNair. Leslie was dominant in the paint and used his top-flight athleticism to his advantage inside.

Leslie, an unsigned senior, also added 10 rebounds, three blocks, three steals and a pair of assists in the victory.

Columbia had solid play from transfer David Forrest, a senior point guard. The lefty added 14 points (5-10 FG, 4-4 FT), five rebounds, five steals and four assists in the victory. Senior big man Kenny Mitchell scored 10 points despite early foul trouble.

Phil McCrary's team looks strong early on and didn't change our opinion that the Decatur school will be one of the toughest teams come February in the state. The Lions have great depth and talent at the positions that have shined in the past for the program.

After the DeKalb County Thanksgiving Classic, Columbia is headed to Nashville for the Music City Classic at the first of December.