December 20, 2011 8:41:00 AM
Kiandria Patterson and Maggie Proffitt don't care how the Columbus High School girls basketball team beats you.
The Lady Falcons can go outside-inside, or they can attack you inside and then kick the basketball back outside.
The strategies may change game to game, but the Columbus High juniors likely will be the ones leading the charge. Patterson and Proffitt showed last weekend at the 15th annual Joe Horne Christmas Classic they and the Lady Falcons may have all of the pieces they will need to make a run at a state title.
On Friday, Proffitt had 30 points in a victory against Wingfield. Patterson poured in 29 Saturday in a victory against Lawrence County that helped Columbus improve to 9-1.
For their accomplishments, Patterson and Proffitt are The Dispatch's Prep Players of the Week.
"I think we complement each other good," Patterson said. "If you try to go to a zone and try to stop me, Maggie will do her job. If you go to a zone or a man and try to stop her, I can break you down."
Patterson and Proffitt played against each other when they first started playing basketball. They always played their current roles of shooting guard and point guard. Proffitt honed her skills playing against her brother, McKellar, in the driveway, while Kiandria learned from her father, Mark, and her brother, and playing against boys.
This season, Patterson and Proffitt feel there is more of an all-around team and that they are complementing each other like they did last season. The 2010-11 season ended with a loss to Northwest Rankin, but both players feel the Lady Falcons are primed to do even better this season. They hope they can help set the tone for the team to contend for a state title.
"Coach says big-time players make big-time players," Patterson said. "She expects us to do the things we need to do to win, and I am sure the team does, too.
Said Proffitt, "A lot of it comes from who works hard in practice and all of the time, not just in games. If they do it in practice, they will do it in the game."
Columbus coach Yvonne Hairston said there is a big difference in Patterson and Proffitt this season compared to last season. She feels both players have matured into the players they will need to be at the next level. She said Patterson, who is 5-foot-8, has become more of a point guard who looks to get teammates involved. She said Proffitt, who is 5-10, has polished her skills at two guard and is better able to hurt defenses from the perimeter or off the dribble.
"They set the tone for the whole team," Hairston said. "When Maggie and Kiandria are playing well then everybody seems to play well. That is very important they get off to a good start. Everybody knows that, so therefore they kind of key on those players."
Hairston said the maturation and development of players like seniors Kierra Erby and Brelana Coleman and juniors Daisha Williams, Laterrica Jefferson, Antonia Jethroe, and Kameron Corrothers, among others, gives the Lady Falcons more weapons and players defenses have to be aware of if they are going to take try to shut down Patterson and/or Proffitt in a box-and-one or a triangle-and-two defense.
"Kiandria is penetrating and pitching and finding the open person, and a lot of times that happens to be Maggie," Hairston said. "They never know what she is going to do or if she is going to take the ball to the basket, pull up and shoot it, and dish it to the open player.
"Maggie has gotten in the gym and gotten stronger and she is able to come off a screen, pull up and shoot her jump shot, and she has developed a step-back jump shot. She takes whatever the defense gives her."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.