Callaway falls just short against Columbia
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The Callaway Cavaliers pushed a formidable Columbia team to the limit on Saturday night, only to come up just short in a state-tournament thriller.
The Cavaliers had the ball at the end with an opportunity to win it, but a potential game-winning shot didn’t fall at the buzzer, and it was the Eagles escaping with a 57-56 victory to advance to the third round of the Class AAAA state tournament.
It was the final game for a gifted group of seniors, including four-year starters Demetrius Coleman and Javontay Boddie along with Jalin Shephard, Chauncey Bradford and Marvize Moss.
“I did not want to send (the seniors) out on that note, but Callaway will push on,” said Andre Johnson, Callaway’s first-year head coach.
“Next year we’ll be back stronger, faster and better.”
The Cavaliers were trailing by one when Exavious Reed scored on an assist from Demetrius Coleman with a little more than 30 seconds to play.
Callaway got the ball back on a turnover, but Columbia’s Kawasiki Ricks’ steal and layup gave his team a 57-56 lead with 12 seconds to play.
Shephard was fouled on the other end, and after he missed a free throw, the Cavaliers retained possession on a held ball.
Coleman got a 3-pointer off at the buzzer, but the shot didn’t drop, and it was the Eagles moving on to the final eight of the state tournament.
Coleman led the Cavaliers with 22 points, and he was 12-of-13 from the free-throw line.
Boddie added 12 points, Reed scored 10 points, and Shephard contributed nine points.
The Eagles came out firing, and they led 22-17 after the first quarter before building their lead to 39-29 at the half.
The Cavaliers rallied in the third quarter behind Coleman’s eight points, and by the time the fourth quarter began their deficit was 49-45.
With 6:22 remaining, Shephard made two free throws to tie it at 50-50, and Coleman made a pair of free throws of his own with 5:37 to play to give the Cavaliers the lead.
It remained tight from there, with neither team leading by more than two points the rest of the way.