ACHILLE - The Highway 91 Rivalry lived up to billing on Tuesday as Colbert opened their season with a 43-39 comeback win over Achille on the Eagles’ home court.
The Leopards outscored Achille 29-18 in the second half to pull away with a win. Darius Johnson hit a three in each quarter and led Colbert with 14 points.
Payton Whitehead scored 10 points in the third quarter and finished with 12 total. Garrett Work added nine, while Chance Halie and McKlane Marquez had four apiece.
Achille outscored Colbert 14-5 in the second quarter and led 21-14 at the half thanks to steals and Leopard turnovers.
“There was a lot of slippage, and we were real nervous at the start,” said Colbert Coach Tony Robinson. “We’ve got a long way to go. Achille played extremely well, extremely hard.”
The Eagles got 14 from T.J. Childree, who also hit four from downtown. Jason Todd added six while three Eagles (Zack Nickols, Lane Manry and Cooper Turner) scored five each. David Beydler added three; S. Robinson had a late free throw.
Colbert’s Payton Whitehead scored the first six points of the second half before a pair of threes from Childree sparked a 10-0 Eagle run.
Late turnovers and missed shots set up a five point streak for Work to give Colbert heir first lead of the second half (37-36) with three minutes left. Chance Halie’s steal and layup pushed Colbert ahead 39-36 with 90 seconds left.
David Beydler went to the free throw line for Achille with 32 seconds remaining, hitting the first (39-37) and missing the second. The Eagles rebounded well and got two good looks at the basket but Colbert came away with the ball.
Marquez hit a pair of free throws with 24 seconds left which gave Colbert a four-point lead.
The Leopards (1-0) are off until a road meeting with Tushka on Nov. 21; Achille (0-3) visits Coleman on Friday.