It was a perfect start to region play for the Callaway Cavaliers.
After beating Rockmart 71-56 in their Region 4-AAA opener on Friday, the Cavaliers outlasted Chapel Hill 64-56 on Saturday.
Callaway (6-2 overall) will carry a 2-0 region record into Tuesday’s showdown with Douglass.
Callaway beat Douglass to capture the region championship a year ago.
In Saturday’s game, the Cavaliers were clinging to a four-point lead with less than a minute remaining in the game, but they scored the final four points to secure the win.
“Our kids still struggle with clock management, time management. We’re still growing,” Callaway coach Terry Hayes said. “But we still came through and battled and won the game.”
Dre Martin led a balanced Callaway attack with 15 points, and Ernest Patillo and Joe Brown added 14 points apiece.
Braylon Sanders chipped in with 11 points.
The Cavaliers led 12-9 after the first quarter, and they were up 26-23 at the half.
The Panthers pulled even three minutes into the third period, but Callaway went on an 8-0 run to build a 39-31 lead with 2:55 left in the quarter.
The Cavaliers extended their lead to nine moments later, but the Panthers finished the quarter on a 7-2 run to cut their deficit to 43-39.
The Cavaliers quickly went up by eight early in the fourth period, but the Panthers wouldn’t go away.
The Panthers got as close as three points twice in the fourth period, and after falling behind by seven, they got back to within four on a Dallis Jacks 3-pointer with 43 seconds left.
Sanders made a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left to push the lead to six, and Martin capped the scoring with two free throws with one second left on the clock.
Most of Callaway’s runs during the game were spurred by a pressure defense that made like difficult on the Panthers.
“When the defense gets going, it makes the offense better,” Hayes said. “We’re not clicking on all cylinders on offense. We’ve got to be able to get the offense set. We’ll work on it Monday.”