DECATUR -- The West Hall High boys basketball team pushed the second-ranked team in the state for three quarters on Wednesday before succumbing to Columbia 65-45 in Decatur
The loss ended the Spartans season in the second round of the Class AAA tournament.
"Our kids really battled," West Hall coach Warren Sellers said. "We even cut it to three early in the fourth quarter, but then they started posting our guards up and shooting over them. Their height really bothered us."
Rodney Gibson racked up 14 points to lead west Hall (24-7). Shunquez Stephens added 11 points.
Jershon Cobb led Columbia (28-2) with 28 points, going 11-of-12 from the free throw line.
The Spartans battled to the end, staying within nine points at halftime and trailed just 37-32 after third quarter.
But Eagles proved too much down the stretch, outscoring West Hall 28-13 over the final eight minutes.
"We had to start fouling them," Sellers said. "And they hit 14-of-16 free throws in the fourth quarter."
Despite the loss, Sellers was proud of the season his team produced -- he just wished there were a few more games remaining.
"There's no need to hang our heads; we lost to a good team," Sellers noted. "But we had a good year, especially in Hall County where it's so competitive."
The Spartans, who claimed the Lanierland Tournament title this season as well as finishing second in Region 7-AAA, were paced by a strong senior class, including starters Gibson, Terrell Penland and Kavon Williams.
"Our senior class led us," Sellers said. "We got some good contributions from some underclassmen like Shunquez Stephens and Jarquise Young, but our seniors really left their mark on the program."