January 6, 2010 11:14:00 PM
The evening started and ended with exclamation marks for the Columbus High School boys basketball team.
The good news is senior center Bobby Wrench was in the middle of the action.
Wrench opened Tuesday night with a dunk and finished it with another flush en route to a 23-point effort in Columbus High''s 75-69 victory against Noxubee County.
"When Bobby gets in his mind he has to play consistent and hard we''re a better team," Columbus High coach Sammy Smith said. "When he doesn''t, we''re struggling and we''re making the adjustment. He has to play with aggressiveness, attack the rack, and play hard, but he hasn''t been doing that. It is hard for us to compensate for that, but we''re working on Bobby. I am not going to stop working on Bobby until they finish school."
Akeem Toppin had a team-high 24 points and Deontae Jones had 10 to help the Falcons (9-7) build momentum for their district opener at Tupelo on Friday.
Noxubee County trailed 36-22 at halftime and trailed 51-32 after a layup by Jones with 1 minute, 3 seconds to go in the third quarter.
But the Tigers, who played the game short-handed, inched their way back into the game in the final three minutes. Terrance Barron hit a 3-pointer with 1:07 remaining in the game to cut the deficit to 69-60. The margin shrunk to six two more times on a 3-pointer by Toboris Hunt and two free throws by Tyrone Meneese (game-high 26 points), but Wrench recorded his fourth dunk of the night off a pass from Michael Hall and then added two free throws with 9.8 seconds to help the Falcons hold on.
Earlier in the fourth quarter, Wrench went up for another dunk but was fouled by Keshun Smith. The contact left Wrench''s lip bloody and he had to leave the game for a short time. Smith said he welcomed Wrench getting a souvenir from the game, and hopes that it will serve as a reminder of how he has to play for the Falcons to be successful.
"I can deal with that. It is an effort lip," Smith said. "If you get a fat lip standing around, it doesn''t make any sense. If you''re going to mess up, mess up going 100 miles an hour. He was taking charges, he was rebounding strong, and taking it to the rack. When he doesn''t do those things it doesn''t make us a good team. He is a senior. He might as well do it now."
Meneese scored his 18th and 19th points of the quarter in the final seconds to account for the final margin.
Noxubee County (8-6) played without Daquarius Mallard and Dontavious Singleton, who were suspended by coach T.J. Billups for breaking team rules, and Vincent Sanders (sore hamstring). Myquell Grace (21 points) also played the fourth quarter with cramps in his legs.
Billups didn''t use the absences a an excuse. Instead, he pointed to the effort the Tigers used in their half-court trap and in their pressure defense at the end of the game as things to build on.
"We played terrible help defense at the end with our guards," Billups said. "We had five guards in and couldn''t rebound. They were just too big.
"We could have easily gave up, but we fought. We played the way I want to play for about three minutes. But that''s not going to get us to Jackson (the site of the state championship games) playing for three minutes hard when we''re behind. We have to play that way when we''re ahead. I hope this team will get that, but I don''t right now if they understand what we''re trying to do. It is like they''re fighting and tugging from everything I am trying to tell them."
n Columbus 61, Noxubee County 36 (G): The Lady Falcons built an 18-1 lead after one quarter and were never challenged.
The victory was the third in as many outings for Columbus (8-6) since the transfer of Chy Cunningham to Tupelo.
Columbus coach Yvonne Hairston said Cunningham enrolled at Tupelo High right after Christmas. She wishes Cunningham the best but knows that the team will move on.
KiKi Patterson led four players in double figures with 17 points. Courtney Cunningham (14 points, no relation to Chy), Maggie Proffitt (13), and Jessica Richardson (11) added to the balanced scoring effort.
"We''re just trying to mold together as a team," Hairston said. "We knew we had to have people step up (without Chy Cunningham) and some of our younger people are stepping up. We challenged our post players to make sure they understand we have to generate some offense from our inside because they tend to guard KiKi, Maggie, and ''Kiwi'' (Courtney) on the outside. Our post players have stepped up in the last three games, so we''re excited for that."
Noxubee County played without junior guard Jeraldine Campbell. Billups said he didn''t know why Campbell wasn''t at the game, and wasn''t sure if she would be back with the team.
The Tigerettes (9-5) showed the effects of playing without their Dandy Dozen player. They looked tentative and failed to attack on offense for much of the first half. But they showed in flashes in the second half that they could run a half-court offense and have success. Those moments of execution weren''t enough for Billups.
"We are at a real big disadvantage with the girls," Billups said. "We don''t have any so-called ''basketball players'' " Billups said. "We just have girls who like to play basketball and one basketball player (Campbell)."
Jasmine Little led Noxubee County with eight points. Tynesha Micken had seven.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
Bessie commented at 1/7/2010 3:19:00 PM:
Great move Chy, now you are part of a winning program. Columbus is going no where FAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When will the rest of the team wake up?
Whoa_Bessie commented at 1/8/2010 8:10:00 AM:
Players like Chy and Jeroldine are what is wrong with high school athletes. When they do not get their way on a team, they go home and complain to their parents and the next thing you know the parents are out there making a fool out of themselves because of something their children said. How is Chy moving to Tupelo a great move? As I understand it, her mom is still working in Columbus where she owns a home and is driving back and forth to Columbus from Tupelo to work. I hope she knows that she is not going to have her way on the Tupelo team either. Where will she move then? I commend TJ for not allowing Jeroldine to take over his team. Both of these girls had promising college careers, but after the college coaches learn of their behavior no one will be willing to take a chance on either of them.
Bessie commented at 1/8/2010 11:41:00 AM:
I bet you are either invoved with the coaching staff or has a child on the team, to ask such a stupid question like that.One Hairston knows as amuch about coaching as the Pope knows about hip hop. Just because you played basketball in High school does not mean you can coach. 2 We are not going to mention how stabbed the former coach in the back to get the poisition. 3 How do you take a player her 9th grade year and move her up to Varsity start her to putting her on the bench her 11th grade year because money bags come over from Hertiage wirh her set shot shooting. 4. Tupelo's sports program in one of the best in Mississippi let's see they have how many all sports awads to Columbus' 1 state championship in track. Now you tell me why in the hell would she stay here?
Gee Haa Bessie commented at 1/8/2010 10:38:00 PM:
I'm not a part of the basketball team nor the coaching staff nor the administration, but I can tell you that a coach plays the girls she can build a program around. If they happen to be younger than the girls on the team last year, well, move over and get out of the way because you will do nothing but show a bad attitude and hold back the team. Glad she's gone; now we can get on with building a program around quality, well-behaved players who really care about Columbus High School.
Former parent commented at 1/9/2010 9:23:00 AM:
Are you from around here? All I want to know is how can you rebuild a program that that first have a coach that do not know how to coach and rebuild a program. This same coach had 2 TWO stacked teams and did not make it out of the district. This same coach had a stacked track team and guess what because of her stupdity the girls quit and now she wants to give up the track team. How can you rebuild when the girls at Columbus DO NOT WANT TO PLAY FOR HER???? This is information I know from first hand. I had a daughter to play under her and that was one of the worst mistakes we ever made.
Sam Johnson commented at 1/9/2010 9:31:00 AM:
Why is it when students transfer to another school they are the ones with the bad attitudes, lazies and all the other negative stuff. Could it not be that the coaches are not during their part. To jump on this young lady, makes me beleive that you have some stake in this. Because what these other people are saying is the truth. That is common knowledge. That's why I let my daughter stay at New Hope. To me coaches must have some morals. How can you teach the girls morals and character and yours is in question?
Former CHS BB Player commented at 1/9/2010 10:07:00 AM:
As a former player Chy made a good decision. I always thought that being part of a team meant team work, sticking together as a team. But that is not what we were taught. We see and hear the coach talk about the other players behind their backs. We saw the coach have special picks on the team. I know that some of our personalities are different but it was not secert which players were her favorite. If she did not like you personally or a family member you caught it. If you told her all your business and other teammates business she loved you and she would play you. I was never so hurt was when we had the so called Athlethic Banquet and the girl that kept us in most games did not get an award, that girl played her butt off for us last year. Because the coach did not agree with her lifestyle. Now that was wrong.
Dixon commented at 1/9/2010 12:20:00 PM:
I went to several of the home games this year. I was wondering who is the coach? All during the girls game, there was a man in the stands that coach the entire game. And the girls were listening to him. Does anyone know who this man is?