LANETT, Ala. - It was the same scenario, but with a twist.
Against the LaGrange Grangers last week, the Cavaliers found themselves facing a double-digit deficit with less than four minutes remaining, and they staged a furious comeback to get the win.
A few days later, the Cavaliers were involved in a similar game, although this time they were the team trying to hold the big lead.
Facing the Lanett Panthers, the Cavaliers led by as many as 12 points in the fourth period, and they were up by 11 with five minutes remaining.
Much as the Grangers found out, though, no lead is safe against a quality team.
Lanett, a top-10 team in Alabama, finished the game on a 17-2 run to hand Callaway a 70-65 setback.
Callaway’s only points in the final five minutes came on a basket by Pedy Leverette.
“We didn’t make the shots, and they made the shots. They made the shots when they had to,” Callaway head coach Terry Hayes said. “We turned the ball over, and they made the shots. You can’t take that from them. There were some questionable calls, but they made the shots when they had to make the shots.”
The Cavaliers held a 54-47 lead through three quarters, and a 6-1 run over the first 80 seconds of the fourth period pushed that lead to 12.
After Lanett’s Justin Jones made a 3-pointer to trim the lead to nine, Ernest Patillo made two free throws to make it a 64-53 game.
From there, the game turned drastically in Lanett’s favor, and when Jones made one from long distance with two minutes left, Callaway’s lead was down to three.
The Cavaliers stemmed the tide a little bit when Leverette scored with 1:58 left to give his team a 65-60 lead, but the Panthers finished the game on a 10-0 run.
Jalen Washington scored with 1:10 remaining to give the Panthers the lead at 66-65, and they made four free throws down the stretch to extend the lead.
At one point with less than 30 seconds left, the Panthers missed two straight free throws, but both times they came up with the rebound to keep possession.
The Cavaliers still had a chance late to tie it, but a 3-point attempt went awry with 15 seconds left, and the Panthers made a pair of free throws on the other end to seal it.
“It’s all about how you handle adversity,” Hayes said. “Even with the fouls, if we’d made a couple of shots we could have pulled it off. But give Lanett credit.”
Patillo and Dre Martin each had 11 points for the Cavaliers, and Washington had 23 points for Lanett, with nine of those points coming in the fourth period.
The Panthers surged to a huge lead early.
They were up 11-0 before Callaway scored, and they soared to an 18-2 lead before Terry Godwin made a 3-pointer.
By the close of the first quarter, Lanett’s lead was 22-13.
The Cavaliers continued to chip away at the lead in the second period, and when Braylon Sanders made a 3-pointer with five seconds left, it was tied 36-36, which was the score at the half.
The Panthers scored the first seven points of the third period to go up 43-36, but the Cavaliers tied it at 45-45 on a Leverette 3-pointer with 3:30 showing on the clock, and Martin followed with his own 3-pointer to give the visiting team the lead.
By the close of the quarter, the Cavaliers were ahead by seven, and that momentum carried over into the fourth period before the Panthers began their comeback.