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Short-handed Cavaliers give it their best shot

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

COLUMBUS – The Callaway High football team is still playing, and while that’s great news for the school, it means the basketball squad is playing short-handed at the moment.

The Cavaliers, with six players available, continued their season on Wednesday with a road game against the Columbus Blue Devils.

Callaway (0-3) hung in there most of the way, but it was Columbus pulling away late for a 54-39 victory.

While senior Javontay Boddie has plenty of experience and has been starting for four seasons, every other player currently available is getting significant varsity playing time for the first time.

That will change when football season ends the full team begins playing together, but for now, the newcomers are getting thrown into the fire.

“They need to play to build their confidence,” said Andre Johnson, Callaway’s first-year head coach. “They’ve got to trust each other. They’ve got to play together.”

Trailing by 10 points early in the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers got within seven with seven minutes to play, but they were unable to get any closer.

“We competed all four quarters,” Johnson said. “The only thing is, we’d have those slumps. We got within seven, and the momentum got sucked out of us.”

Devin Dowell led the Cavaliers with 17 points, Boddie added 10 points, and Kaleb Salter scored seven points.

The Cavaliers started strong and had an 8-4 lead on a basket by Javen Cochran, but Columbus closed the first quarter on a 7-0 run to take an 11-8 lead.

The Cavaliers trailed by as many as seven points early in the second quarter, but they fought back and cut their deficit to 24-21 at the half.

Dowell scored eight points in the second quarter, including the Cavaliers’ final six points of the half.

The Blue Devils scored the first seven points of the second half to take a 31-21 lead, and they were ahead 38-30 as the third quarter came to a close.

The Cavaliers were trailing by 10 points when Dowell hit a 3-pointer with seven minutes to play to make it a 40-33 game, but it was the Blue Devils pulling away for the home win.