The more they play, the better they get. Gabrielle Johnson has seen it for herself.
Johnson, Callaway High’s freshman guard, watched the Lady Cavaliers take one more step in the right direction on Friday night with a 55-25 squashing of Columbus Spencer. This was one of the most complete wins of the basketball season for the Lady Cavaliers, who galloped to a 16-4 lead in the first quarter.
“We got the rebounds. We passed the ball. We hustled, and we got in the passing lanes,” said Johnson, who netted 12 points in the Region 5-AA game.
The Lady Cavaliers were almost un-guardable, courtesy of a pair of 4-foot hook shots from senior forward Kierra Jackson in the first period. Callaway High guard Quay Beasley also put some icing on the cake with a three-point bank shot at the buzzer, concluding the first quarter.
Callaway High led by a dozen points at the end of the first stanza.
“We played together. We wanted it more, and we knocked down some shots,” said the 5-foot-7 Beasley.
Guard Jasmine Dukes and Johnson went back to work for the Lady Cavaliers in the second period with a couple of early layups. They made it look easy. Good teams do that, and the Lady Cavaliers are in the process of becoming a good team.
Callaway High also went to the hoop for field goals with Niakoe Burks and guard Javonna Bradford in the second quarter. The Lady Cavaliers sprinted to a 31-10 lead against Spencer.
“We pushed the tempo, and we played as a unit. We are getting some games under our belt,” said coach Deyano Martin of Callaway (5-7 overall, 3-1 in the region).
The Lady Cavaliers played like a team that could contend in the region. The Lady Cavaliers played with poise and purpose. They kept looking for something more like a Burks 10-foot bank shot and a Johnson three-pointer, which the Lady Cavaliers got in the third period.
Callaway High had a 3814 lead halfway through the third quarter. Johnson also rang up a fast break layup with 1:01 left to spread the Lady Cavalier lead to 45-14.
And in the fourth period, Callaway High was still looking for some shots. They still dropped on through, including a Haley Holliday three-pointer in the final minute of the fourth quarter.
Columbus Spencer could feel the basketball heat coming from the Lady Cavaliers.
“We did not get back on defense. We had 20 turnovers. We have youth and inexperience,” said Pam Smith, the head coach of the Lady Green Wave (2-11 overall, 0-3 in the region).
Spencer desperately depended on junior guard Shilyane Gilchrist, who bagged 11 points. Callaway High had a few more scoring chances, and the Lady Cavaliers took them with Niakoe Burks (13 points), Gabrielle Johnson (12 points), Kierra Jackson (seven points) and Haley Holliday (seven points).
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