The ball is in their court.
With impressive victories over Pike County Tuesday night, Callaway High’s basketball teams simply need to hold serve Friday against Macon County in order to be seeded where they want to be for next week’s region tournament.
For the Cavaliers, a 65-40 the victory over the Pirates - their eighth win in a row - moved them a step closer to securing the region’s No. 2 seed.
Callaway head coach Terry Hayes isn’t looking ahead to next week, though.
He told his players to treat the team’s last few regular-season games as if they’re playing in the the state tournament.
“Today was the semifinals,” Hayes said of his team’s dominating victory. “(Friday against Macon) is the state championship game. We’ll treat the region tournament the same way.”
The Pirates (2-14 Region 5-AA) never had a chance from the start, as the Cavaliers (17-5 overall, 12-3 in region pay) jumped out to a 21-point halftime lead and cruised after the break.
David Rutledge led Callaway with 18 points, followed by Quantavius Leslie with 14, Terrance Jackson with nine and Theo Thomas with seven.
Callaway and Heard County are tied for second in the region, but the Cavaliers own the tiebreaker because they beat the Braves in both regular-season meetings.
At 13-1, Manchester needs one more win to sew up the top seed.
Should Callaway slip up at Macon and Heard defeat Jordan on Friday, the second spot would go to the Braves.
The Lady Cavaliers, meanwhile, have all but locked up their fourth spot in the region tournament, which is just fine with head coach Albert Gilliam.
With Callaway’s 47-36 win over Pike County Tuesday, everything seems in order for the fourth spot, probably giving the Lady Cavaliers another match up with Lady Pirates next Thursday in the Region 5-AA tournament.
Tuesday’s win was typical of this season’s team - a tight first half that turns into a Callaway showcase in the second.
Senior Erin Anderson led with 20 points, followed by Tersheor Tigner with seven and Keandrea Smith with six.
Gilliam said the team’s confidence grows with every win.
“I think we’re ready for the tournament,” Gilliam said. “We’re playing with confidence and have a better understanding of the things that we want them to do.”
Despite what happens on Friday’s road trip to Macon, the Lady Cavs know where they’ll be in the tournament. With the fourth seed, just one Callaway victory would put the team in the state tournament.
While Gilliam expects to see Pike again in that first tournament game, he thinks his team has the edge
“Now we know who their shooters are,” Gilliam said. “Hopefully, the third time won’t be the charm for them.”