• 52°

Lady Cavaliers drop first game

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

They finally met their match.

After three wins to open the season, the Callaway Lady Cavaliers fell to home-standing Handley (Ala.) 53-49 on Saturday.

Having tasted defeat for the first time, Callaway will look to start a new winning streak when it visits Newnan on Tuesday.

“We can’t let this game beat us twice,” said Callaway head coach Deyano Martin. “We’ve got Newnan coming up Tuesday, so we’ve got to be ready to roll.”

Trailing by nine points early in the fourth quarter, Callaway hung around and kept it close, but it was Handley making the plays necessary to earn the win.

“We got outhustled. A lot of 50-50 balls we did not come up with,” said Martin, whose team hadn’t played since Dec. 9 when it beat Columbus. “They wanted it a little bit more than we did for whatever reason. I don’t know if it was the layoff that might have got us. We didn’t play our best game. And when you’re playing a team on the road, you’ve got to play your best game.”

Gabrielle Johnson, Callaway’s talented junior point guard, led the way in scoring with 15 points, and she was 9-of-14 on free-throw attempts.

Post players Lacy Thomas and Camryn Stargell had 12 points apiece, and Niakoe Burks added six points.

Callaway trailed 15-9 after the first quarter, and the deficit was 25-17 at halftime.

The Lady Cavaliers stayed within shouting distance in the third quarter, and they trailed 42-35 heading to the fourth quarter.

The Lady Cavaliers continued to hang around in the fourth quarter, and when Johnson made a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left, they were within four.

After a Handley turnover Callaway regained possession, but its hopes ended when the ball went out of bounds following a missed 3-pointer.

Handley was able to run out the clock and secure the four-point win.

“We could not get over the hump,” Martin said. “We couldn’t close on them like we wanted to.”