Second half struggles doom Callaway in region championship as Cavs finish runner-up

Published 9:27 pm Friday, February 16, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

A second-half collapse dashed any chances of a region championship for the Callaway girls basketball team on Friday as the Cavaliers took a 54-43 loss to Columbia in the Region 5-2A championship.

There is no way around it for the one-seed Cavaliers, the third quarter was an absolute disaster. It started when Columbia went on a 4-0 to start the third. Lacey Thomas hit a free throw to stop the run, but the Cavaliers would then go scoreless over the next five minutes and change. 

One of the main reasons for the struggles offensively was Thomas picking up her fourth foul just a minute into the third quarter.

With Thomas on the bench, the Eagles dominated, going on a 12-0 run to take the first double-digit lead of the game (42-27).

The Cavaliers were staring at a 45-31 deficit in the face heading to the fourth after entering halftime tied at 26.

Jailyn Baker hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 4:27 left to cut the Eagles’ lead back to single-digits (47-38), but that would be as close as the Cavaliers would come to getting a foothold late in the contest.

The opening by half was as tightly contested as one would expect from a region championship game that featured two teams that split their regular season matchups against each other.

Callaway was able to capture a 13-12 lead after one, but Columbia came storming back to tie the game heading into halftime.

It was a start-and-stop game with both teams attempting over 25 free throws. The Cavaliers had their chances from the line but missed 16 free throws.

Senior Keiyunna Maddox, who was named to the All-Region team after the game, led the way for the Cavalier offense with 14 points. Thomas followed closely behind with 13 points and had a double-double with 13 rebounds. 

Despite the loss, Thomas was named Region 5-2A co-player of the year. 

Callaway will head into the playoffs with a record of 23-4. The Cavaliers will host a playoff game as a no. 2 seed in the AA state playoffs.