By Jim Hayes
Winning their first road game of the year, the Volunteer State Community College Pioneers upset the Columbia Sate Community College 76-73 Wednesday night at Columbia State Community College.
The win marked the first time the Chargers had lost on their home court this year and left Vol State with a 4-13 conference record heading into last Saturday’s final game on the road at last place Jackson State Community College.
The win did not have any effect on the Pioneer’s seeding for the conference tournament which begins next week at Cleveland State Community College. Cleveland State is 6-10 in conference play as of Thursday.
They have two games left, but Roane State Community College is immediately above them at 7-10 in the conference with just one game left. Should the conference standings remain as they were on Thursday, Cleveland, the number 8 team, would play Vol State in the first conference tournament play-in game next Saturday.
The winner of that game would likely then go on to play either Walters State Community College or Motlow State in the tournament’s first round. This weekend, Walters hosts Roane State while Motlow hosts Columbia State which hasn’t won a road game this year.
As for the Pioneers Wednesday night win, they were paced by the play of guards Tim Goodrich, who scored 23 points and Justin Goodson, who scored 17.
“It was a big road win,” said Vol State Head Coach Rusty Melvin. “Columbia was 19-9 overall, one of the better teams in the conference and we beat them on their floor. It was big to get us ready for the conference tournament.”
“When you win one on the road, it gives you more confidence as you move on,” said Melvin.
In addition to the scoring by the Pioneer starters, Chase Hawkins scored 15 off of the bench. Vol State got 6 points from Heston King, 4 each from Jaden Chumley, George Roberson and Jordan Howard. Brian Pike’s 3 points completed the Pioneer scoring.
After falling behind 13-7, the Pioneers rallied back to take a 42-35 half-time lead. Goodrich and Goodson contributed 6 assists each while Hawkins pulled down 7 rebounds and hit a 3-pointer that sealed the Chargers’ fate.
On the defensive end of the floor, George Roberson had 4 blocks to help the Pioneer cause.