Calera girls use comeback to take down Bibb County

Published 12:05 am Friday, January 10, 2014

By TREY HICKMAN/For the Reporter

CALERA — The Calera varsity girls basketball team found itself in unfamiliar territory against the Bibb County Choctaws on Jan. 9.

The Eagles entered halftime trailing by nine before defensive determination helped the host team fight back for a 43-39 win against its Class 4A Area 4 rival.

“I told them at halftime that the way you’re going to get back in the ballgame is on the defensive end of the floor,” said Calera head coach James Knowles. “By putting pressure on them, stealing the basketball, don’t lose your people, this kind of stuff, and that’s what we were able to do.”

Down 19-10 at intermission, Calera clawed back in a third quarter that included eight points from Tia McCarter and an 8-0 Eagles run. Tyesha Haynes added seven points in the period as Calera closed the gap to three heading into the final set.

Keyanna Gayden’s basket with under two minutes remaining put Calera on top 38-37. Her score was part of another 8-0 Eagles that was capped by a bucket from Breonna Caldwell, which widened the advantage and gave Calera all the points it would need.

However, clamping down on Choctaw scorers — specifically in terms of creating turnovers that led to some of those Eagles points — proved the catalyst in the Calera victory.

“Defense won it for us,” Knowles said. “There’s no doubt about that.”

Haynes led the way for the Eagles (13-3, 2-0 in Area 4) with 16 points and five rebounds while McCarter collected 11 points and three steals. Kalen Starks logged four steals and two blocks in the winning cause.

For Bibb County (9-5, 3-1 in Area 4), Jon’Nita Henry had 16 points, four rebounds and four steals, followed by Savannah Anderson with eight points and eight rebounds. Monica Goode had three blocks in the loss.