Beach held a three-point lead late in regulation, but Callaway freshman Dre Martin drained a 3-pointer with seconds left to force overtime in the Class AAA state-tournament game.
Whatever momentum the Cavaliers had thanks to Martin’s clutch shot didn’t carry over into the four-minute overtime period, though.
It was tied at 70-70 after Tez Parks scored off of an offensive rebound, but Beach finished the game on a 10-2 run to roll to an 80-72 victory.
It was a special season for the Cavaliers (16-8), who won the regular season and tournament titles in Region 4-AAA.
The Cavaliers were unable to keep the good times going on the home floor, though, against a Beach team that finished fourth in Region 1-AAA.
“I won’t take anything away from Beach. They did a really good job,” Callaway head coach Terry Hayes said “But we picked the worst night to play one of our worst games of the season.”
Hayes pointed to a number of costly turnovers as well as some defensive breakdowns in overtime that led to the loss.
“We had so many turnovers,” Hayes said. “In overtime, we didn’t have any defense.”
The Cavaliers were still within two in overtime when Terry Godwin scored with 1:33 left, but the Bulldogs scored the game’s final six points to win going away.
While the closing moments didn’t have much suspense, the final minutes of regulation were thrilling.
The Cavaliers led by as many as seven points in the fourth quarter after Nehemiah Jones made a pair of free throws with 4:11 remaining.
Jones, who finished with 28 points in his final high-school game, scored six straight points to give Callaway the 52-45 cushion.
The Bulldogs then fought back and tied it at 56-56 with 2:28 left to play.
The lead changed hands four more times over the last two minutes of regulation, with Beach going up 64-61 with 13 seconds left.
The Cavaliers needed a 3-pointer to tie it, and Martin obliged, making a contested shot from long range to tie it with five seconds left.
Beach had a chance to win it, but the final shot wasn’t close, and it was on to overtime.
The Cavaliers hung tough for the first few minutes of overtime before things spiraled out of control.
While it was a heartbreaking conclusion to the season, Hayes said he was proud of everything his players accomplished.
“I told them I was proud of them,” Hayes said. “They did a heck of a job this season.”
Jones gave the home fans a show in his high-school finale with 28 points, and he was 8-of-9 on free-throw attempts.
Fellow senior guard Brandon Bridges added 16 points, and senior Patrick Strickland added eight points.