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Lady Cavaliers earn title shot

By Kevin Eckleberry

kevin.eckleberry@lagrangenews.com

FRANKLIN – The Callaway Lady Cavaliers know they’re going to be at home for the first round of the state tournament.

Now, the goal for the Lady Cavaliers is  to head into the state tourney as a region champion.

Callaway will get that opportunity after beating Temple 60-54 on Thursday in the semifinals of the Region 5-AA tournament at Heard County.

Second-seeded Callaway advances to the region-championship game, and it will play top-seeded Heard County today at 7 p.m.

“I tell them, it’s a countdown process,” Callaway head coach Deyano Martin said. “We were one game away from at least finishing second. Now, we’re one win away from winning the region. So we’re taking it a game at a time.”

Thursday’s game offered plenty of suspense.

It was tied with less than three minutes to play, but Callaway finished the game on a 10-4 run to win going away.

“I felt like the second half, we settled down, and we wanted to win,” Martin said. “We did what it takes. We started hustling.”

Martin felt like his team’s full-court press started to pay dividends in the second half when the Lady Cavaliers scored 39 of their 60 points.

“I was real proud of the second-half effort,” Martin said. “We started with full-court pressure. That got us back in the game. I didn’t want to go full-court early, because I didn’t want to tire them out.”

One of Callaway’s outstanding guards, KiKi Owens, led the way with 18 points, and she had 11 points in the second half.

Haley Holliday had 15 points, and Chyna Cameron scored 10 points and was effective blocking shots and pulling down rebounds.

Eight of Cameron’s points came in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.

KeKey Talley also had 10 points, all in the second half.

Talley, along with Holliday and Qua Beasley, never left the court.

“Those three stayed out there the whole game,” Martin said.

Callaway led 11-9 after the first quarter, but Temple surged in the second period and took a 27-21 lead at the break.

An 8-2 run to start the third period pulled the Lady Cavaliers even, and they were up by three when Temple’s Amiya McDaniel hit a 3-pointer with three seconds left to deadlock the score at 40-40.

A 6-0 run that was capped by a Cameron basket gave the Lady Cavaliers a 50-44 lead with 4:47 to play, but the Lady Tigers scored six straight points of their own to pull even once again with 3:03 showing on the clock.

With 2:38 to play, Cameron pulled down an offensive rebound and scored, and Callaway led by two.

It was still a two-point lead for the Lady Cavaliers when Owens managed to grab an offensive rebound amidst a bunch of other players, and she scored to make it a 58-54 game with 55 seconds to play.

After a Temple turnover, Callaway did a great job of moving the ball around and running the clock, and Holliday scored with eight seconds left to cap the scoring.

Next up for Callaway is a Heard County team is has lost to twice this season, although both games were close.

Heard County won 43-39 at Callaway, and it won the rematch 43-41.