The first time they locked horns, there wasn’t much suspense.
During a game on Dec. 20, the Callaway Lady Cavaliers surged to a big early lead, and they never let up on the way to a 72-37 victory over the Troup Lady Tigers.
The rematch was a different story.
The result was the same, a Callaway win, but how the game played out was drastically different.
The Lady Tigers had the halftime lead, and they were within four early in the fourth period before the Lady Cavaliers (10-6) pulled away for a 53-40 victory.
Although Troup came into the game with just one win, and that came in the season opener, Callaway head coach Deyano Martin wasn’t expecting an easy time of it.
“My players, they came in the game thinking it would be a cake walk. But I knew better,” Martin said. “We just have to stay on them and motivate them.”
The Lady Tigers (1-13) were unable to avoid a 13th straight loss, but at least they made their county rivals work for this one.
“Like I said, they’ve got no reason to hang their heads,” Troup coach Carla Thornton said. “I told the girls, you earned some respect tonight.”
The Lady Tigers were down 12-9 after the first quarter, but by the half they were on top 21-19.
The Lady Tigers kept the momentum going early in the third period, and they built a 27-21 lead on a D’Aushanique Sanders basket with 5:35 left in the quarter.
Back came the Lady Cavaliers.
Tanesha Johnson hit a 3-pointer to get the Lady Cavaliers within a point, and they took the lead on a Zamari Hardnett basket with 4:30 showing on the clock.
The Lady Cavaliers added four more points to cap a 10-0 run, and they were on top 31-27.
Troup got back within two on a Gabby Lockhart basket, but Callaway closed the period on a 7-2 run to seize a 38-32 lead.
Sanders knocked down a pair of free throws moments into the fourth period to get the Lady Tigers back within four, and they continued to hang around, and Callaway’s lead was just six points with four minutes left in the game.
The Lady Cavaliers closed the game on a 9-2 run, though, to win going away.
“I have to really tip my hat to them. That was probably their best game,” Martin said of the Lady Tigers. “They played really, really hard, and they wanted to beat us. We had to pick it up a little bit in the second half.”
Thornton felt her team “got a little gassed” in the fourth quarter.
“I wish I had more people to put in,” Thornton said. “We’re not deep.”
Johnson led Callaway with 13 points, and Terriyunna Dunson added 11 points.
Sanders paced Troup with 17 points.