Big challenge for Cavaliers
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The Columbia High Eagles were the class of the field in Region 6-AA during the regular season, and they carried an 11-game winning streak into the region tournament.
As so often happens in tournament play, though, an upset happened, with Lovett beating Columbia 72-59.
Columbia ended up finishing third in the region tournament, and it went on the road and beat Chattooga 74-57 in the first round of the Class AA state tournament.
Columbia will be on the road again for a second-round test, and its opponent will be the Callaway Cavaliers, who thumped Union County 65-42 to keep their season alive.
It’s a big-time challenge for the Cavaliers, but they’ll give it their best shot as they look to advance to the final eight of the state tournament for the second time in three years.
Many of Callaway’s current players, including seniors Javontay Boddie, Demetrius Coleman, Marvize Moss and Jalin Shephard, were key contributors on the 2018-2019 team that made it to the final eight before losing to Laney.
“I told this senior class, y’all did it in the 10th grade,” said Callaway head coach Andre Johnson. “It’s up to you, how bad do you really want it?”
While Callaway ended up beating Union County by 32 points, the game was tight for a while.
The Cavaliers trailed early in the third quarter before breaking it open.
Boddie and Coleman, starters since they were freshmen, combined for 47 of Callaway’s 65 points.
Boddie led the Cavaliers with 25 points while making six 3-pointers, including four from long distance in the third quarter.
Coleman, who was the starting quarterback on the football team that won the state title in December, added 22 points.
While glad to see his team turn it up in the second half, Johnson believes it will take a four-quarter effort to dispatch a formidable Columbia team.
“I told them you’ve got to stop being a second-half team, because there’s going to be one game you can’t come back from,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to learn to put four quarters together, and that’s what we’re struggling with.”
CALLAWAY VS. COLUMBIA
WHAT: Second round of Class AA state playoffs
WHEN: Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Callaway High
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Callaway finished first in Region 5-AA and beat Union County 65-42 in the first round of the state tournament; Columbia finished third in Region 6-AA and beat Chattooga 74-67 in the first round of the state tournament
UP NEXT: The winner will play Westside-Augusta or Washington County in the third round