They had everything to gain and everything to lose.
That comes with the territory in the second round of the State Basketball Tournament, not only for the Cavaliers, but for every other team in the Class AAA field.
Unfortunately for the Cavaliers their state title search ended last Saturday in Hogansville with a 79-73 setback to the No. 2-ranked South Atlanta Hornets. The game was winnable for the Callaway High boys.
The Cavaliers just couldn’t find the bottom of the net during some key moments.
“We fought hard and have all year long. We made it to the Sweet 16. We just missed too many free throws and wide open shots,” said Callaway High Head Coach Terry Hayes.
And no, the Cavaliers did not anticipate losing in the second round of the State Tournament. This was a confident bunch from Callaway High with a 19-4 record and the Region 5-AAA championship.
The Cavaliers hung in there with the Hornets from beginning to end. Callaway High outscored South Atlanta, 18-15 in the second quarter and 21-20 in the third period. The Cavaliers led by one point at halftime at 34-33.
At the end of the third stanza the game was still up for grabs. The contest was tied, 55-55. Only eight more minutes separated the Cavaliers from winning or losing. But South Atlanta seized the fourth period. The Hornets outscored the Cavaliers, 24-18 and won the game by a half-dozen points.
The loss still stings for Callaway High.
“We played great, but South Atlanta had depth and a good inside and outside game,” said Hayes.
The Hornets, a team with a 24-6 record, also had balanced scoring. Four South Atlanta players scored in double figures with senior forward Artavious Banks (21 points), junior guard Devonta Pullins (12 points), Devontae Dean (11 points) and senior guard Orlando Bebee (11 points).
Callaway High could have won, but didn’t on this day in the State Tournament. In the Cavaliers final game of the season they got 21 points from junior guard Braylon Sanders, 19 points from senior forward Earnest Patillo and 11 points from Dre Martin.
Joe Brown, the Callaway High senior center, also tacked on 10 points.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer