Cavaliers go for fifth straight region title
Published 11:12 pm Monday, February 6, 2017
By Kevin Eckleberry
HOGANSVILLE – The drive for five begins today.
The Callaway Cavaliers have won four consecutive region-tournament championships, and they’ll look to take the first step toward a fifth straight title today.
Callaway, which finished third in Region 5-AA, will be at home for an opening-round game today at 8:30 p.m. against Lamar County, the number six seed.
The Callaway Lady Cavaliers, meanwhile, finished second in the region, so they will have a first-round bye and won’t play until Thursday in the tournament semifinals.
Callaway will play the winner of today’s game between Temple and Spencer at 4 p.m. at Heard County.
Regardless of what they do in the region tournament, the Lady Cavaliers have already qualified for the state tournament.
Callaway’s boys’ team, after starting 0-3 in the region, won six of its final seven region games to end up tied for second, although Spencer got the number two seed on a tie-breaker.
That it took the Cavaliers a little while to find their footing this season isn’t entirely surprising.
Braylon Sanders was the only returning starter from last season’s team, although DQ Wilkerson and Tamarcus Smith both saw significant playing time a year ago.
When Callaway lost to Spencer 76-74 at home, it was sitting at 0-3 in the region.
Beginning with a 56-53 home win over Temple, though, Callaway has been rolling.
Over its final seven region games, Callaway’s only loss was on the road against Heard County, which went unbeaten in region play.
Callaway played that game without Sanders, who was on a recruiting visit for football.
Now, the Cavaliers are at full strength, and everyone has settled into their roles, including Sanders and Smith, who are the two leading scorers.
“We had a young team,” Sanders said. “Not many played varsity last year. But they’re stepping in, they’re finding out their roles, and we’re doing good.”
Heard County went 10-0 in region player to earn the top seed, Spencer and Callaway were both 6-4, and Temple went 4-6 to finish fourth.
The fifth and sixth seeds, respectively, are Jordan (3-7) and Lamar County (1-9).
In today’s first boys’ game at Callaway, it will be Temple and Jordan playing at 5:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to face Heard County on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. in the semifinals.
Then at 8:30 p.m. today, Callaway will play Lamar County, and the winner will advance to play Spencer on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Heard County.
The third-place game will be on Friday at 5:30 p.m., and the championship game is at 8:30 p.m., and both games will be at Heard County.
On the girls’ side of the bracket, Heard County went 8-2 to secure the top seed, and Callaway is second at 7-3, and both of those teams have first-round byes.
Temple (6-4) finished third, and it was followed by Jordan (5-5), Lamar County (4-6) and Spencer (0-10).
There will be two girls’ games today, both at Callaway High.
At 4 p.m., it will be Jordan playing Lamar County, and Temple and Spencer play at 7 p.m.
At 4 p.m. on Thursday in the semifinals, Callaway will play the winner of the Temple and Spencer game for the right to play for the region championship on Friday at 7 p.m.
Heard County will host the games on Thursday and Friday.
The Lady Cavaliers struggled to an 0-8 record in non-region play, but they’ve been a force throughout their region schedule.
Callaway lost its three region games by a combined by nine points, and two of those losses came to top-seeded Heard County.
AT CALLAWAY HIGH
4 p.m. – Jordan girls vs. Lamar County
5:30 p.m. – Temple boys vs. Jordan
7 p.m. – Temple girls vs. Spencer
8:30 p.m. – Callaway boys vs. Lamar County
AT HEARD COUNTY
4 p.m. – Callaway girls vs. Temple or Spencer
5:30 p.m. – Spencer boys vs. Callaway or Lamar County
7 p.m. – Heard County girls vs. Jordan or Lamar County
8:30 p.m. – Heard County boys vs. Temple or Jordan
AT HEARD COUNTY
4 p.m. – Girls’ third-place game
5:30 p.m. – Boys’ third-place game
7 p.m. – Girls’ championship game
8:30 p.m. – Boys’ championship game