Game day for Cavaliers
Published 11:51 am Wednesday, February 27, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLBERY
Having already dismissed two higher-seeded teams on the road, the Callaway Cavaliers will try to do it again today when they travel to Augusta to play Laney in the quarterfinals of the Class AA state tournament.
On the line is a trip to the state semifinals to play either South Atlanta or Vidalia.
While Callaway has beaten Banks County and Chattooga to reach this point, Laney has knocked off Brooks County and Washington County.
This will be Laney’s third consecutive home game in the state tournament, while Callaway has been on the road for both of its state games.
While playing at home would seem to be an advantage for Laney, being on the road clearly hasn’t been a problem for Callaway, which finished third in the Region 5-AA tournament.
If the Cavaliers can be road warriors once again, they’ll get to play their semifinal game on a neutral court at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville.
“Just don’t get out-hustled, don’t get out-played, and make some shots,” Callaway head coach Terry Hayes said. “Hopefully we’ll have a good shooting night.”
Standing in Callaway’s way is a Laney team that won the Region 4-AA championship before winning a pair of state games.
In the first round, Laney had its hands full with a Brooks County team that had a losing record and only seven players.
Laney led 39-14 in the first half, but it was outscored 33-18 in the second half on the way to a 57-47 win.
Dajuan Collins led Laney with 16 points while making three 3-pointers, and Tony Stanford added 12 points.
In the second round, it was an even tighter game, with Laney holding off Washington County 60-56.
Matthew Jones paced Laney with 12 points, and Collins and Maurice Paige had 10 points apiece.
As the two state games show, Laney has tremendous scoring balance, and head coach Shawn Parks said it is an unselfish team.
“Throughout the entire season, we’ve always preached a balance,” Parks said. “If we have to slow the ball down and walk up the floor, we can play that way. We can play half-court ball or we can run with the best of them. It takes conditioning. It takes sacrifice, sometimes. When you sacrifice and play for each other, it usually gives us a victory. I think that’s what has caused our streak of wins. Everybody is willing to sacrifice something for the good of the team.”
Callaway beat Banks County 86-83 in its state opener, with sophomore guard Demetrius Coleman coming through with a 43-point effort, and junior post player Antinez Blount added 18 points.
In the second round against Chattooga, Javontay Boddie led Callaway with 23 points, and Coleman made five 3-pointers and scored 20 points.
After finishing third in the region tournament, the Cavaliers knew they were going to be on the road, but the important thing was they were in state, and that’s all that mattered.
“We just wanted to get to the playoffs,” Hayes said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen. You’ve got to believe, and they did.”
CALLAWAY VS. LANEY
WHAT: Quarterfinals of Class AA state tournament
WHEN: Today, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Laney High (Augusta)