Dramatic win for Lady Cavaliers
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
She stepped to the free-throw line, took a deep breath, focused on the task at hand and got the job done.
Callaway was trailing Bremen by one point when Camryn Stargell was fouled with 11 seconds left, and she was awarded two free throws with her team trailing by one point in Saturday afternoon’s game.
After knocking down the first free throw to deadlock the score, Stargell made the second free throw as well to give Callaway a one-point lead.
The Lady Cavaliers made a defensive stop on the other end to end the suspense, and they walked away with a critical 64-63 victory.
Callaway (8-7 overall) improved to 6-4 in Region 5-AA and improved its chances of earning the number three seed for next week’s region tournament.
Callaway closes its region schedule with a game at Jordan on Tuesday and a home game against Lamar County on Friday.
In Saturday’s game, the Lady Cavaliers trailed by 12 points in the third quarter, but they charged back for the home win.
It was Stargell who gave Callaway the decisive points with her clutch free throws.
“You just block everything out, and just focus on the free throw,” Stargell said of her mindset as she walked to the line.
Guard Gabrielle Johnson led Callaway with 24 points while making four 3-pointers.
Stargell got it done inside with 21 points while pulling down close to 20 rebounds, and guard Niakoe Burks had 11 points.
“I think that was the big thing. We played inside-out,” said Deyano Martin, Callaway’s head coach. “We got the ball inside and tried to take advantage of some size. The girls did a good job of executing.”
The Lady Cavaliers, who trailed 34-25 at the half, faced a 12-point deficit with less than two minutes left in the third quarter.
Callaway closed the third quarter on a 7-0 run, with Niakoe Burks hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut Bremen’s lead to 44-39.
The Lady Cavaliers continued to fight back in the fourth quarter, and they took a two-point lead when Johnson made a 3-pointer with 2:20 to play.
The lead went back-and-forth after that, and Bremen had a 63-62 lead on a Mary House basket with 25 seconds to play.
The Lady Cavaliers didn’t panic and ran their offense, and Stargell was fouled to set up the go-ahead free throws.
“They showed a lot of grit at the end, a lot of want-to,” Martin said. “A lot of players stepped up, brought a lot of energy and made some plays. The hustle was there. I’m just proud of them.”