Callaway teams sweep to region wins
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The Callaway Lady Cavaliers shrugged off a sluggish first half to turn away visiting Temple in a Region 5-AA showdown on Wednesday.
Callaway trailed 18-11 at the half, but it scored 20 points in the third quarter to seize the lead, and it held on for a 48-44 victory to improve to 2-1 in the region.
“It was all about energy (in the second half),” Callaway head coach Deyano Martin said. “I’ve got to figure out what I’ve got to do to get them to come out ready to play. We came out real slow, methodical.”
Martin added that “I think (Temple) played a little bit better than we thought they were from watching film. They played a lot better tonight than they did in the past.”
In the boys’ game, Callaway broke open a close game in the second half to beat Temple 58-43 and move to 3-0 in the region.
In the girls’ game, Gabrielle Johnson, Callaway’s outstanding freshman guard, led the way with 14 points, with 12 of those points coming in the second half.
Jasmine Dukes added 11 points, all in the second half, and she was 6-of-8 from the free-throw line.
Qua Beasley made a pair of 3-pointers and scored 10 points, and Kierra Jackson added eight points.
Not much was going right in the first half for the Lady Cavaliers.
Callaway was down 9-7 after the first quarter, and it went nearly five minutes in the second quarter without scoring as Temple seized an 18-11 lead at the half.
Callaway’s deficit was eight when Beasley drained a 3-pointer, and Johnson hit from long range 30 seconds later to cut Temple’s lead to 21-19 with 3:50 left in the third quarter.
Jackson’s basket with 3:15 to play in the quarter capped an 8-0 run and deadlocked the score at 21-21. The Lady Cavaliers kept it going, and when Dukes made a 3-pointer with less than a minute to play in the quarter, they led 29-23.
By the time the third quarter ended, the Lady Cavaliers had scored 20 points and they led 31-26.
Callaway went up by as many as eight points with 4:30 to play, but Temple kept fighting, and it went on a 6-0 run to get within two with 3:20 showing on the clock.
The Lady Cavaliers responded with a 10-3 run, and they were ahead 47-38 with one minute remaining.
Back came Temple, which got within three and had the ball with less than 10 seconds to play.
A potential game-tying 3-pointer didn’t find the mark, and Callaway’s Niakoe Burks got the rebound with four seconds left.
Burks made a free throw to push the lead to four, and Temple missed a shot from half court at the buzzer.
In the boys’ game, Callaway went on a 9-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter to turn a six-point lead into a 15-point cushion.
The Cavaliers led comfortably the rest of the way to maintain their perfect region record.
Callaway head coach Terry Hayes felt an improved defensive effort helped his team break the game open in the fourth quarter.
“They started playing defense,” Hayes said. “When you play defense it makes a difference. It makes for easy shots in the transition game. I’m proud of them.”
Antinez Blount had a big game for Callaway with 19 points while making three 3-pointers, and Jalin Shephard added 12 points, all in the second half, while doing a nice job at point guard.
Javontay Boddie added 10 points, and Duke Simpson and Demetrius Coleman had eight and seven points, respectively.
The Cavaliers dominated the game early, taking a 13-3 lead after the first quarter, and they were ahead 29-17 at the half.
The Tigers started fighting their way back into it in the second half, and they got as close as six when Mekhilen Stegall hit a 3-pointer late in the third quarter.
Shephard scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to give the Cavaliers an 11-point cushion, and when Blount made two free throws with 5:47 to play, the lead was 47-32.
Shephard scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to help Callaway pull away.
Callaway’s teams will be at home against Spencer on Friday, with the girls’ game tipping off at 6 p.m., and the boys’ game to follow.