Some things never change.
Take the Callaway High boys basketball team. The Cavaliers have won the Region Tournament four years running. Callaway High did it again on Saturday night with a 61-41 smackdown against the Rockmart Yellow Jackets in the Region 5-AAA Tournament finals in Carrollton.
Callaway High didn’t just cut off one piece of the pie. The Cavaliers took the whole thing, and they did it on purpose.
“We’ve never hosted the Region Tournament in AAA. We had a chip on our shoulder. We trapped and pressed. We wanted it,” said Callaway High Head Coach Terry Hayes. “We stopped their main shooters.”
Only one Rockmart player scored more than nine points in the game. Yellow Jacket guard Morgan Sims was zoned in for 17 points. Bronson Garner and Avery Allen followed with nine and eight points for Rockmart.
But that hardly scratched the surface in this game at Central Carrollton. Rockmart, which is 8-17 on the season, fell into the spell of the Cavaliers. Callaway High got the Yellow Jackets attention immediately as the Cavaliers rolled to a 19-10 first quarter lead.
From there, Callaway High increased their advantage to 34-22 in the second period. The Cavaliers outscored Rockmart, 15-12 in the second stanza. Every little bit counted in this title contest.
Callaway High maintained their 12-point lead in the third quarter. The Cavaliers led 36-24.
“We played fundamental basketball. We had guys coming off the bench and stepping up (with Courtney Williams, Kedrick Ramsey and J.T. Wortham). They got in there and rebounded. We played position defense,” said Cavaliers Assistant Coach Sam Cotton.
And even with a doubledigit lead, Callaway High did not relax as the fourth period began. The Cavaliers played some hard-core basketball in the fourth stanza. Callaway High went on a 15-7 run to put this game away.
The Cavaliers have won four straight Region Tournament titles.
“This is pretty special. We pride ourself on defensive pressure. We create our offense off our defense. We’ve got quickness.We will fullcourt press you and halfcourt press you,” said Cotton, the former LaGrange College basketball letterman (1981-83).
Callaway High hung in there on the court and on the scoreboard.
“Rockmart made their little surges. Every time they made a surge, we countered,” said Cotton.
It was very much a game that was played by the numbers and for the championship. The Cavaliers finished with 32 rebounds, seven assists and 18 steals. Callaway High played some relentless region basketball.
The Cavaliers won the Region 5-AAA title with senior guard Quantrez Cooper recording eight steals and scoring eight points. Callaway High’s Wortham played all out as well with four rebounds. The Cavaliers also got 21 points, seven rebounds and four steals from senior forward Earnest Patillo.
Dre Martin also finished the job. The 5-foot-11 senior guard for Callaway High pumped in 14 points. Cavaliers junior guard Braylon Sanders was firing on all cylinders, too, with 14 points and three steals.
The Callaway High boys basketball team is now 17-3 on the season.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer