In a nip-and-tuck game, LaGrange outlasted Callaway 57-52 to improve to 5-0.
For Callaway (0-2), it was a second straight close loss to a county rival after falling to Troup 55-52 the night before.
In Saturday’s game, which was played in front of a raucous, standing-room only crowd at Callaway High, the Grangers trailed 24-22 at the half, and they were struggling to get their offense on track.
The Grangers picked up the pace in the second half and scored 35 points, and that was just enough to dispatch the stubborn Cavaliers.
“The second half, our goal was to try to create a little more pace,” LaGrange head coach Mike Pauley said. “We made a couple of adjustments that allowed us to pick up the pace a little bit, and we hit a couple of baskets. That was the difference.”
For Callaway, while head coach Terry Hayes was happy with the defensive effort, he felt the offensive execution could have been better.
“The biggest thing I saw tonight was, we’ve got to run our offense better,” Hayes said. “We have to be able to make short jump shots and layups.”
As for the defense, Hayes said “our kids did a good job. There were a few breakdowns, but overall they did well.”
The Cavaliers were strong early, with Tyrell Tigner’s steal and layup putting Callaway up 15-10 after the first quarter.
The Grangers went on a 5-0 run at the start of the second quarter to pull even, and neither team led by more than three points for the rest of the period, and the Cavaliers held a 24-22 lead at the half.
The Grangers surged at the start of the second half, and they took their biggest lead of the game at 31-26 on a Kwame Brown bucket with 4:40 left in the third period.
The Cavaliers hung tough, though, and Tigner nailed a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left in the quarter to trim the Grangers’ lead to 34-33.
Back came the Grangers, who went up 42-35 with 3:45 left in the game after Justyn Olson and Baron Smith hit 3-pointers.
The Grangers were still up by seven when Tigner drained a 3-pointer with 1:06 left to make it a 46-42 game.
The Cavaliers were unable to score again, though, and the Grangers held on for the win.
“Give LaGrange credit. They did a great job,” Hayes said. “It’s nothing we did wrong.”