Lady Cavaliers hope to stay hot
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The red-hot Callaway Lady Cavaliers will look to keep the good times rolling when they kick off their state-tournament journey on Wednesday.
Callaway, which beat Heard County last week to win the Region 5-AA championship, will host Union County in the first round of the state tournament, with tip-off set for 6 p.m.
The Lady Cavaliers have accomplished plenty over the years with Martin at the helm, but before this season they’d yet to win a region title under his leadership.
That changed on Friday night, with Callaway beating home-standing Heard County 56-50 to win that elusive region championship.
“Once you get over that hump, who knows what you can do,” Martin said.
Callaway (13-6 overall) has won five in a row, and it is coming off a hard-fought road win over its biggest rival.
Junior guard Gabrielle Johnson, who has started since she was a freshman, led Callaway with 17 points against Heard County.
Johnson, who was a part of the team that lost in the region-championship game to Heard County last year, was glad to achieve a long-awaited goal.
“It’s a big moment,” Johnson said. “We’ve been working for this since I was in the ninth grade.”
Post player Lacy Thomas, one of Callaway’s talented freshmen, added 16 points, and junior Camryn Stargell was also strong in the paint with 12 points.
Jazmine Thornton, who has been one of Callaway’s top players as a freshman, only scored four points, but she played with confidence and aggressiveness down the stretch.
“I talked to her, and settled her down a little bit,” Martin said. “She was pressing a little bit at first, which is natural for a freshman. The fourth quarter, she settled down a lot.”
Junior guard Niakoe Burks is also a major contributor for the Lady Cavaliers, and guard Keiyunna Maddox has played a lot as a freshman.
CALLAWAY VS. UNION COUNTY
WHAT: First round of Class AA state tournament
WHEN: Wednesday, 6 p.m.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Callaway finished first in Region 5-AA; Union County finished fourth in Region 8-AA
UP NEXT: The winner will play either Chattooga or Pace Academy in the second round