Cavaliers hosting state-tournament game
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The Callaway Cavaliers, fresh off a championship-winning performance in the Region 5-AA tournament, will turn the page on Wednesday and begin their state journey.
Callaway, which beat Heard County 62-55 to win the region title on Saturday, will host Union County on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the first round of the Class AA state basketball tournament.
Leading the way will be a group of players who have been through plenty of big games before, both in basketball, and football.
One of those players is four-year starter Javontay Boddie, a guard who has come up big this season.
While Boddie stands well south of six feet, he is one of Callaway’s toughest players who is often able to come down with the ball amidst players a lot taller than he is.
“I just go out there and play my best and try to grab as many rebounds as I can,” Boddie said. “A short guy like me, I shouldn’t be grabbing rebounds over people that are taller.”
It’s that sort of effort that helped the Cavaliers finish the regular season unbeaten in region play before winning both of their games in the region tournament.
Joining Boddie in the lineup are fellow seniors Demetrius Coleman and Jalin Shephard, veterans on the basketball team who also helped Callaway win a state championship in football last year.
“It helps having leadership like that,” said Andre Johnson, Callaway’s first-year head coach.
While Coleman and Shephard and a handful of other players were late arrivals since football season didn’t end until Dec. 29, Boddie has been there since the beginning, and Johnson appreciates his leadership.
“I really give a lot of credit to Javontay Boddie,” Johnson said. “He’s been leading since the beginning when we didn’t have football players.”
Boddie, Johnson added, “has the will and determination of a lion. If he wants it, he’s going to get it.”
Coleman, like Boddie a four-year starter, is Callaway’s leading scorer, and he had 20 points in the region-title game against Heard County. The other seniors are Shephard, Marvize Moss and Chauncey Bradford, and Johnson has put a lot of responsibility on their shoulders.
“The seniors, I told them from the beginning, it’s your team,” Johnson said. “I’m just here coaching. You guys have the chemistry, the will, the determination. I’m just guiding.”
WHAT: First round of Class AA state tournament
WHEN: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Callaway finished first in Region 5-AA; Union County finished fourth in Region 3-AA
UP NEXT: The winner will play Columbia or Chattooga in the round of 16. Callaway will host if it wins.