Callaway, Heard set for first-place showdown

Published 1:53 am Tuesday, January 19, 2021

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First place in the region will be on the line when the rival Callaway Lady Cavaliers and Heard County Lady Braves lock horns on Tuesday in Franklin.

Callaway (5-3 overall) will bring a 2-0 Region 5-AA record into the game after beating Temple and Haralson County, while Heard County (12-3) is 1-0 in the region following last week’s win over Bremen.

Callaway tuned up for the Heard County game by facing a strong Harris County team on Saturday night at home.

Callaway fought back from an 11-point halftime deficit to tie it in the fourth quarter, but it was Harris County hanging on for a 51-47 win.

It was the continuation of a challenging non-region schedule for Callaway, which has also dropped close games to Handley (Ala.) and Newnan.

“That’s why we play Newnan, and Handley, and East Coweta is coming to town, and Greenville,” said Callaway head coach Deyano Martin. “You play all those schools you know it’ll be good competition, and hopefully when you get to your region you’ll be ready, and for postseason after region, you’ll be ready for that also. You don’t know where you stand until you play teams like that.”

Trailing 27-16 at the half, Callaway rallied in the third quarter and cut Harris County’s lead to 40-34 heading to the final quarter.

Twice in the fourth quarter Callaway pulled even, first on a Lacy Thomas basket with 2:49 remaining, and again on a Gabrielle Johnson steal and layup with 1:11 to play.

Harris County reclaimed the lead on a pair of free throws with one minute to play, and it scored the game’s final four points to earn the hard-fought road win.

Johnson, a junior guard, led the Lady Cavaliers with 19 points while making two 3-pointers, and Thomas and Camryn Stargell got it done inside with nine points apiece.

“I felt like we got outhustled early in the game,” Martin said. “That second half, I think we turned it up. The girls kind of wanted it, and gave great effort in the second half, we just came up a little short.”

Martin is anticipating another big-time challenge on Tuesday against a strong Heard County team led by head coach Helen Akins.

“They’ll compete. They play good fundamental ball, and they’ve got a good coach,” Martin said. “She does a great job coaching her girls and getting the best she can out of them. She does a good job.”