Cavaliers hang on against Tigers
HOGANSVILLE – The Callaway Cavaliers had a close one go their way this time.
Last week, the Cavaliers were on the brink of getting a road win over the LaGrange Grangers, but they fell three points short.
On Saturday, Callaway was at home to play another county rival, the Troup Tigers.
It was another close, back-and-forth game that wasn’t decided until the final moments.
This time, Callaway got to enjoy the win after edging Troup 52-48.
The game wasn’t decided until senior Joe Brown made a pair of free throws with less than a second left to push the lead to four.
Callaway coach Terry Hayes was proud of the way his team overcame some adversity during the game.
“They found a way to win,” Hayes said. “No matter what, they found a way to win. One starter was in foul trouble, another missed the game because of discipline, we had injuries. We hung in there.”
For Troup, it was second heart-breaking loss to a county foe.
Earlier this season, Troup lost at LaGrange 53-52.
While it was a disappointing setback, Troup head coach Paul Brewer was pleased with the way his players responded following a 62-44 loss to LaGrange on Friday.
Brewer felt his team did a nice job of controlling the pace, of not allowing Callaway to speed things up, and of taking smart shots.
It was what Troup was able to do in the first game against LaGrange, but was unable to do in the rematch on Friday.
“We feel like this team is willing to be coachable,” Brewer said. “I think offensively we’re a little bit limited right now in what we can do, but, who cares? Come out and win a game, and compete. The beauty of basketball is you can win a game 100 different ways. You have to be willing to buy into a particular style.”
Early on, the Tigers were experiencing deja vu.
Against LaGrange on Friday, Troup fell into a 14-0 hole in the first quarter.
A day later, the Tigers found themselves trailing 8-1 against the Cavaliers, and they were behind 20-8 after the first period.
“I thought in the first quarter, it looked like a repeat of last night,” Brewer said. “I thought we decided after the first quarter of doing a little better job of shot selection.”
Dre Martin had the hot hand early for Callaway with a pair of 3-pointers, and he scored seven points in the opening quarter.
The Tigers fought back in the second period and got as close as four, and by the half the Cavaliers were ahead 28-22.
Things got even tighter in the third quarter.
Troup actually tied it at 34-34 with 2:50 remaining on a basket by Isaac Moss, who scored eight points in the third period.
By the time the third quarter came to a close, Callaway was clinging to a 39-36 lead.
The Cavaliers never lost the lead in the fourth period, but they couldn’t shake the Tigers.
Callaway led by as many as six points when Martin made a 3-pointer with 6:38 to play, and the lead was five when Braylon Sanders knocked one down from long range with 4:45 remaining.
The Tigers kept hanging around, though, and when Moss scored with 3:50 to play, the Cavaliers’ lead was 49-48.
From that point on, both teams had trouble putting the ball in the basket.
On one possession with less than a minute remaining in what was still a 49-48 game, Troup missed two shot attempts before Callaway got a rebound.
After Martin made one free throw for Callaway, Troup had the ball with 20 seconds left down by just two points.
With eight seconds left, the Tigers missed two free-throw attempts, so the Cavaliers still had a two-point lead.
The excitement wasn’t done.
With just two seconds remaining, Callaway missed two free-throw attempts of its own, and Troup still had hope.
The ensuing inbounds pass sailed out of bounds, though, so Callaway took possession.
Brown was fouled with less than a second left, and he made two free throws to finally end the suspense.
Sanders led Callaway with 14 points, and Martin added 13 points.
Moss was one of three Troup players in double figures with 16 points, Jarrious Jefferson added 15 points, and Keyshawn Russell scored 12 points.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports