Cavaliers get much-needed win

Published 3:14 pm Thursday, January 25, 2018

By Kevin Eckleberry

They needed that one.

It has been a difficult season for the Callaway Cavaliers, who came into Wednesday’s home game against Heard County with just one win.

The Cavaliers have been competitive in most of their games, but they’ve had a difficult time closing things out.

Against the rival Braves, the Cavaliers finally found the winning formula.

It was a tie game with less than two minutes remaining when Antinez Blount hit the go-ahead jumper, and the Cavaliers went on to capture a 68-64 victory in the Region 5-AA game.

“We just executed better,” said senior Kedrick Ramsey. “All those close games we had, we didn’t execute down the stretch. Tonight, we executed better, and made more free throws and came out with the victory.”

Ramsey was a big reason why the Cavaliers emerged victorious.

Ramsey led the Cavaliers with 22 points, with 17 of those points coming in the second half.

Demetrius Coleman made three 3-pointers and scored 11 points, and fellow freshman Ja’Vontay Boddie added nine points, including seven points in the fourth quarter.

Senior DQ Wilkerson also scored nine points, and he was 3-of-3 from the free-throw line.

Ramsey, who was the quarterback for the football team that reached the state quarterfinals, had his best game of the season.

“Coach (Terry) Hayes was telling us seniors we need to step up more, and coming into the game I felt like I had to step up, and I did what I had to do to get the victory,” Ramsey said.

When Heard County’s Khalil Cofield made a 3-pointer with a little more than two minutes to play, the game was tied 60-60.

The Cavaliers responded, with Blount knocking down a jump shot to give the home team a two-point lead.

The lead was one for Callaway when Kobe Jackson, another one of the seniors, made two free throws to put his team on top 65-62 with 30 seconds left.

After a Heard County turnover, Wilkerson scored with 18 seconds left, and the Cavaliers had a five-point lead.

Heard County scored with five seconds to play to make it a three-point game, and Boddie was immediately fouled after the inbounds pass.

Boddie made a free throw to give Callaway a four-point lead, and a Heard County shot missed at the buzzer.

“We played with energy, we played good,” Hayes said. “We made some free throws down the stretch, and made some clutch shots, too.”

Hayes felt his team’s pressure defense made a big difference in the fourth quarter, with Heard County committing some costly turnovers late.

“I think our full-court press helped,” Hayes said. “We got some steals.”

The Cavaliers started quickly and had a 14-7 lead after the first quarter, but the Braves rallied to go up 29-27 at the half.

The Braves then scored the first six points of the second half to seize a 35-27 lead, but the Cavaliers responded.

A Coleman 3-pointer capped an 18-5 run and gave the Cavaliers a 45-40 lead with 90 seconds left in the third quarter.

Back came the Braves, who closed the quarter on a 7-2 run to deadlock the score at 47-47.

The Cavaliers were clinging to a one-point lead in the fourth quarter when Boddie hit a 3-pointer to push the lead to 60-56.

The Braves answered again, and Cofield’s long-distance shot pulled his team even.

Blount’s basket gave the Cavaliers the lead once again, and this time they didn’t give it up.

Callaway will try to make it two in a row on Friday when it visits Lamar County.