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Sports

D-B falls to Columbia in Arby's Classic

December 26th, 2007 12:00 am by Bill Lane



BRISTOL, Tenn. — Dobyns-Bennett took its case to the “Dr. Phil Show” Wednesday night and came away with a big question mark.


The Indians lost 66-42 to Columbia of Decatur, Ga. in the opening round of the 25th annual Arby’s Classic.


It ended D-B’s 10-game win streak, which had begun on the second night of the season after a loss to Farragut.


Columbia (11-0), the 4A state champion in 2006 and runner-up in 2007, relied heavily on its physically imposing inside game to defeat the Indians.


The Eagles are coached by Dr. Phil McCrary, who said he gets a lot of kidding about his name. “Wherever I go people let me have it,’’ McCrary said. “I don’t have a TV show. But when my kids perform well, it allows me to have a show.’’


D-B (10-2), which has fairly good size, found itself looking up at Columbia’s players. The Eagles’ starting lineup consisted of 6-foot-9 Darius Morrow, 6-8 Kenny Mitchell, 6-5 Travis Leslie, 6-5 Jeshon Cobb and 5-10 David Forrest.


Leslie, Mitchell and Morrow combined to score 57 of Columbia’s points. Leslie led with 22 points, Mitchell had 20 and Morrow tossed in 15.


The Eagles seldom took an outside shot. Their offense included a mixture of 10-foot jumpers, driving layups and putbacks.


Leslie, a swingman, hit 11 of 19 field goal attempts. He had three of his team’s four dunks.


“Some of the things Leslie does with a basketball you just can’t coach,’’ McCrary said. “He hasn’t committed to any college yet. He’s just enjoying his senior season.’’


Leslie has scholarship offers from South Carolina, Georgia, Clemson and UAB.


Mitchell dropped in 9 of 12 floor shots and pulled down 14 rebounds. Tulane, North Texas State and Tennessee Tech have offered him a scholarship.


Morrow, who has committed to South Carolina, sank 5 of 10 field goal tries and claimed 11 rebounds.


“We like a power game,’’ McCrary said. “We take the ball inside until an opponent stops what we do best. We don’t go out to the perimeter until we have to.’’


McCrary was impressed with the Indians, who were in contention for 2½ quarters. “Dobyns-Bennett has a very good team, one of the top ones here,’’ he said. “We had a long bus ride. It took a while to get these kids calmed down. We had to make sure we didn’t let Dobyns-Bennett hang around too long.


“We gave (the Indians) too many open looks at the basket and allowed too many perimeter shots to be taken.’’


Columbia advances to play Pine Castle of Orlando, Fla., at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. D-B will go against Gate City at 10:30 a.m. on Friday in a losers bracket game.


Justin Sylvester was the Tribe’s top scorer with 14 points. He made 4 of 7 shots from 3-point range.


The Indians (10-2) had difficulty, however, scoring in the paint.


“We couldn’t get inside,’’ Tribe coach Charlie Morgan said. “Columbia’s defense caused us problems. We didn’t execute. (The Eagles) are big, athletic and quick.


“They perhaps have the best group of players I’ve coached against in my eight years at D-B. Their quickness and athleticism on defense was a challenge for us.’’


D-B was able to stay within striking distance of the Eagles until Mitchell, Morrow and Leslie opened up in the third quarter.


“That was a real basketball team we faced,’’ Morgan said. “We competed for a while but just flattened out.


“We made some shots and did a pretty good job of slowing them down in the first half. After halftime, we had trouble making shots.’’


Morgan saw it as a learning experience: “We now know what it takes to get better. Playing against teams like this will prepare us for the conference race and for teams we could meet on down the road.’’


D-B point guard Tremell McGue said Columbia’s defense was difficult to penetrate and the Indians had to alter many of their field goal attempts.


“In the second half we kind of went away from our game plan,’’ McGue said. “Columbia’s players are very athletic.’’


Columbia outrebounded D-B 39-31. Bronson Flack got 10 and Sylvester nine for the Tribe.


The Eagles made 29 of 52 field goal attempts, D-B 22 of 65.


Six of D-B’s shots were blocked and several passes got deflected.



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