Calera wins Battle for 4A

Published 3:18 pm Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Calera’s Deondré Haynes hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer as the No. 2-ranked Eagles stunned Andalusia, 84-81, Saturday night.

Haynes was fouled with 5.7 seconds left in the game and missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw situation, but managed to corral the rebound of his missed shot and nail a 3-pointer as time expired.

“We always practice having composure on the court,” said Haynes, a freshman point guard. “After I missed the free throw, I wanted to make a big play to help my team.”

With 15 seconds left in the game, Andalusia’s Derrick King hit a short jumper to tie the game at 81-81. Calera brought the ball up the court and the Bulldogs tried to create a steal but made a mistake when Haynes was fouled just inside the halfcourt line.

“You don’t foul them in that situation, you make them beat you,” Andalusia coach Richard Robertson said. “And then when they missed the (free throw), we’ve got four down there to rebound and (Calera) has two, and they manage to get the rebound and get the game-winning shot.

“These are dumb mistakes that we’d been getting away with earlier in the season, but they caught up to us tonight. I don’t want to take anything away from Calera, but we beat ourselves tonight.”

The teams exchanged leads several times in the first quarter and were tied at 19-19 at the end of the first eight minutes of play.

Calera broke out to an eight-point lead with 5:00 left in the second quarter but the Bulldogs battled back and cut the Eagles’ lead to 44-42 when Brandon Sims hit a layup with 20 seconds left. Haynes was fouled at the halftime buzzer and hit one of two free throws as Calera led, 45-42, at the break.

Andalusia came out with a purpose in the third quarter and took the lead on a Nico Johnson layup with 4:00 left that gave the Bulldogs a 56-55 lead. The Bulldogs held a 67-62 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Andalusia added to its lead in the fourth quarter, opening up a 74-66 advantage with 5:18 remaining in the game following two free throws by Johnson. But the Bulldogs could not hold on to that lead as Calera moved back in front, 77-76, with 2:46 left following a dunk by Haynes. Following the dunk, Andalusia managed to tie the game several times, but could never regain the lead.

Saturday night was the first meeting for Andalusia and Calera. Calera coach Robert Burdette and Andalusia’s Robertson have been friends since when they coached the Alabama high school all-star team together in the 1990s.

“We have always wanted our teams to play together and it just worked out that this year we were in the same classification and ranked No. 1 and No. 2,” Burdette said. “To come down here and win against an outstanding Andalusia team, it’s a huge win for our young team.”

Nico Johnson led Andalusia (14-2) with 34 points. Brandon Sims added 14 points and O’Brien Curry chipped in with 12.

Demarcus Dowdell led Calera (16-3) with 26 points. Haynes added 18 and Maleki Harris scored 13.

Calera hosted No. 4 Childersburg last night. Results were unavilable at press time