Big night for Callaway standout
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
VALLEY, Ala. – Callaway’s Gabrielle Johnson has accomplished plenty this season, but heading into Wednesday’s game against Valley, there was one goal she’d yet to achieve.
Johnson, a sophomore guard who leads the team in scoring, came into the season hopeful of scoring 30 points in a game.
It took her until the second-to-last game of the regular season, but Johnson can cross that off her to-do list.
Johnson, who was 11-of-12 from the free-throw line, scored right at 30 points to lead Callaway to a 62-54 road win over Valley.
“It feels good,” Johnson said of her 30-point outburst. “My team worked to get me the ball to help me get 30 points.”
Callaway won for the 10th time in 12 games to improve to 10-7 heading into Friday’s regular-season finale against Lamar County.
Callaway is 7-4 in Region 5-AA, and it will either be the number three or number four seed for next week’s region tournament.
“I feel like we’re playing some of our best ball,” Callaway head coach Deyano Martin said. “We’ve still got room to improve, but we’re clicking and playing hard.”
Niakoe Burks added 13 points in Wednesday’s game, and she had 11 of those points in the first half as Callaway built a 34-22 lead.
Camryn Stargell scored 10 points while making a major impact near the basket with rebounds and blocked shots, and Quentasia Swamson had seven points.
“I’m proud of the effort,” Martin said. “Last night (against Jordan) we gave a lot of effort. As long as you’re giving effort, you’ve got a chance.”
Valley, trailing by 12 points at the half, got as close as four points late in the third quarter, and Callaway’s lead was 50-44 as the final quarter began.
The Lady Cavaliers put it away with a strong stretch at the start of the fourth quarter where they scored eight straight points to take a 58-44 lead.
Valley never got close than eight points the rest of the way.