Cavaliers hold off Rams
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
VALLEY, Ala. – It got a little suspenseful in the closing moments, but when the final horn sounded on Wednesday night, it was the Callaway Cavaliers walking away with a one-point win over the home-standing Valley Rams.
Valley had possession with less than two seconds left, but a desperation half-court heave didn’t connect, and Callaway escaped with a 66-65 victory.
Callaway (12-6 overall) will wrap up the regular season with a home game against Lamar County on Friday.
If the Cavaliers win, they’ll sew up the number two seed for next week’s Region 5-AA tournament, meaning they won’t have to play until the semifinals.
In Wednesday’s game, the Cavaliers seemed to have things in hand when Demetrius Coleman made two free throws with 45 seconds left to put the Rams in a 65-58 hole.
The Rams were a long way from done, though, and they got within a point when Demarice Farrow drained a 3-pointer with two seconds to play.
On the ensuing inbounds play, a long pass deflected off of Coleman’s hands, and the Rams regained possession.
Needing to go the length of the court with a little more than a second to play, the Rams got a half-court shot away that came close but didn’t fall.
Callaway head coach Terry Hayes felt the game will be of great value to the team as it looks ahead to the big games to come once tournament time begins.
“It’ll prepare us for the region tournament, prepare us for the state tournament,” said Hayes, who guided the team to the state quarterfinals last season. “It’s a hostile environment and playing a good team, and we hit some big shots and did what it takes.”
Duke Simpson led the Cavaliers with 15 points, and Antinez Blount contributed 13 points.
Demetrius Coleman, wearing the number 24 in honor of Kobe Bryant, added 12 points, and Javontay Boddie also had 12 points.
The Cavaliers had things working early, and they led 23-13 when Jalin Shephard hit a 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer.
The Cavaliers led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter, with Coleman scoring 10 consecutive points during one stretch.
The Rams fought back and got within five, but the Cavaliers took a 44-36 lead into the halftime break.
The Cavaliers maintained at least a six-point lead throughout the third quarter, and they had a 54-48 lead heading to the final quarter.
The Rams made a move and got within two when Blount and Shephard scored on back-to-back possessions to give the Cavaliers a 63-58 lead.
The lead grew to seven on Coleman’s two free throws with less than a minute left, and the Rams closed the game on a 7-1 run to make it interesting.