The Callaway Cavaliers stayed perfect on their home floor this season, but it wasn’t easy.
The Troup Tigers stood toe-to-toe with the Cavaliers for four quarters, but they were unable to pull off the road win.
The game was tied with less than two minutes remaining, and the Cavaliers closed with a flourish to claim a 58-54 victory.
The Cavaliers (13-3) bounced back from Tuesday’s road loss to Chapel Hill while improving to 8-0 on their home court.
“Our defense did a good job,” Callaway coach Terry Hayes said. “And the (players) came through down the stretch.”
The Cavaliers had won eight straight games before falling to Chapel Hill 66-57.
The Cavaliers hurt themselves with a miserable effort from the free-throw line, but they were much better from the charity stripe against Troup.
The Cavaliers, after making just 4-of-18 free-throw attempts against Chapel Hill, made 5-of-6 from the line in the fourth quarter against Troup.
“They were a lot better than last night,” Hayes said.
For the visiting Tigers, coach Paul Brewer was pleased with the effort, even if it didn’t translate into a win.
“We told (the players) they probably deserve to feel better than they do right now,” Brewer said. “Callaway is well-coached, they have good players. If we play as well, stay as focused the rest of the way, we’ll do some good things.”
Joe Brown led a balanced Callaway scoring effort with 17 points, and freshman Braylon Sanders added 16 points, with Terry Godwin contributing 13 points.
Jamal Wilkerson paced the Tigers with 22 points, and Daryl Dunlap scored nine points.
The Tigers, who lost to Callaway 80-63 earlier this season, surged to a 7-2 lead on Wednesday, and they were on top 19-9 after the first quarter.
The Tigers continued to play well in the second period, and they took their biggest lead of the game at 28-14 on a Dunlap free throw with five minutes left in the half.
The Cavaliers responded.
Godwin knocked down a 3-pointer with 4:40 left in the half to get the Cavaliers within 11, and they finished the half on a 14-3 run to cut Troup’s lead to 31-28.
The Cavaliers pulled even on a Godwin 3-pointer two minutes into the third quarter, and it was a 37-37 game heading into the final period.
It was back-and-forth in the fourth period, with neither team leading by more than two points until a Sanders basket with 1:10 left in the game put the Cavaliers on top 52-48.
After the Tigers got back within two, Brown converted a three-point play with 50 seconds left to give the Cavaliers a 55-50 lead.
Troup’s Quaydo Florence was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer, and he made three free throws to cut Callaway’s lead to 55-53 with 34 seconds left.
The Tigers had their chances late, but they missed three free throws that could have tied it.
Callaway’s Quadarius Patillo made one free throw with seven seconds left to push the lead to four, and Troup missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, and that was that.
Both teams return to region play on Friday.
Callaway will visit Douglass in a rematch of last year’s Region 4-AAA championship game, while Troup will be on the road against Alexander in a Region 5-AAAA game.