After dispatching Douglass in the Region 4-AAA championship game on Saturday, the Cavaliers earned the right to host a first-round game in the state tournament, and they’ll take on Beach tonight in the second game of a doubleheader.
First up at 6 p.m., the Callaway girls’ team will take on Tatnall County, and at 7:30 p.m., Callaway and Beach will lock horns.
The Cavaliers (16-7) have won 13 of their past 14 games, and they’ve only lost twice since opening the season 1-5.
Beach won’t be a pushover, though.
The Bulldogs, who come from the basketball hotbed of Savannah, are 16-12, and they finished fourth in a tough Region 1-AAA.
The Bulldogs, who average 56 points per game, get it done with a balanced attack, with three players averaging in double figures.
Rashad Cummings, a 6-foot-4 senior post player, leads the way with 14.7 points per game, and senior guard Shawn Brooks scores 13.7 points a game.
Juadeem Banks, a 6-foot-5 post player, averages 13 points a game, and he leads the team with seven rebounds a game.
The Bulldogs had won six straight games before losing to Savannah in the region semifinals, and they fell to Tatnall County in the third-place game.
While Beach has a solid inside presence, Callaway gets it done without a post game to speak of.
Among the players who see significant playing time, Patrick Strickland is the tallest player at 6-2, and none of the other regular players are taller than six feet.
The Cavaliers have dynamic perimeter players, though, including leading scorer Nehemiah Jones, Brandon Bridges, Terry Godwin, and freshman Dre Martin, who was called up to the varsity after Tyrell Tigner left the team.
The Cavaliers have been a terrific defensive team this season, and head coach Terry Hayes said effort is never a question with this group.
“I told the kids, some nights you can’t shoot the ball, but you can always have defensive intensity,” Hayes said. “(With) intensity, hustle, you can overcome a lot of adversity. If you hustle all night long and rebound and run the floor, that will overcome a lot of adversity. Turn the intensity up, turn the defense up. They (the players) believe in that.”
The Cavaliers head into state play after a hard-fought, 74-64 victory over Douglass in the region-championship game.
The Cavaliers trailed heading into the fourth period, but they flew past the Astros and didn’t look back.
“I’m very proud of the guys,” Hayes said after the game. “To start the season 1-5, and come all the way back and win the region championship shows they’ve got a lot of heart. They never quit. They have a never-say-die attitude. That’s what I like about them.”
If Callaway wins today, it would host either Washington County or Central-Macon in the second round.