It’s been a couple of weeks since the Callaway basketball teams played a game, and they’re ready to get back on the court.
Callaway’s teams will be at home today and Saturday as they get their Region 4-AAA schedules under way.
Callaway will face Rockmart today in its region opener before hosting Chapel Hill on Saturday.
Neither Callaway team has played since Dec. 21 when they both lost to Lanett.
The Cavaliers bring a 4-2 record into region play, while the Lady Cavaliers are 3-3.
The Cavaliers are playing a region opponent for the first time since last season when they beat Douglass in the region-championship game.
The Cavaliers only lost one region game in the regular season, and they avenged that loss when they beat Douglass for the championship.
As satisfying as last season was, though, Callaway coach Terry Hayes knows it doesn’t mean anything now.
“We’ve worked on getting the players in a frame of mind to understand what it takes to be a region champ,” Hayes said. “Last year doesn’t mean anything. It’s a whole new season.”
Callaway has tested itself against a strong non-region schedule.
The Cavaliers played six games in nine days, and that stretch culminated with the game against Lanett, one of the top-ranked Class A teams in Alabama.
The Cavaliers led by 12 points in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers charged back and won 70-65 after finishing the game on a 17-2 run.
It was a tough loss, but Hayes felt it was a valuable experience for his team.
“The game against Lanett, that’s the kind of game you’re going to play. It’s like a region-championship game. It’s like a (state-tournament) game,” Hayes said. “I liked how they fought, and they stayed mentally tough. They didn’t let the referees affect them. They stayed calm, cool and collected. They could have won the game.”
Callaway also had hard-fought games against LaGrange and Troup leading up to the region schedule.
Now, the Cavaliers turn their attention to region play.
From here on out, Callaway’s only non-region games will be against LaGrange and Troup.
After the way last season went, Hayes knows his Cavaliers will get everybody’s best shot.
“I told the kids, we have a bulls-eye on our front, and our back,” Hayes said. “It’s a big, old round bulls-eye. We’re not under the radar anymore.”
The Lady Cavaliers, meanwhile, have navigated their way through a challenging non-region schedule to go 3-3, and they hung tough with a strong Lanett team before losing 60-50.
“That was the whole purpose of trying to get a tough schedule, to get used to some of the region competition,” Callaway coach Deyano Martin said. “Hopefully we can use some of that to help spring us along when we get to the region schedule.”
Many of the same players who helped Callaway enjoy so much success a year ago are back, but Martin has strived to make sure no one is satisfied.
“You have to keep plugging. You never get satisfied,” Martin said. “That’s the hard part. You want to strive to be number one. You want to be the best. That’s what I’m trying to instill in him. I’m not sure they’re all buying in, but maybe one day they’ll all buy into that philosophy. On any given night, you want to be the best.”