Calera girls move to quarterfinals with win

Published 11:42 pm Friday, February 14, 2014

By TREY HICKMAN/For the Reporter

CALERA — It should go without saying that neither Calera nor visiting Corner was in a particularly loving mood when the two squared off in the first round of the Class 4A girls playoffs Feb. 14.

In a Valentine’s Day match-up marred by turnovers, the host Eagles proved the less “affectionate” foe, trumping Corner 58-45.

“It was a win,” said Calera head coach James Knowles. “That’s all you can say. We didn’t play very well. We didn’t play up to our capabilities. I’m disappointed in that. You think that you’ve gotten in the playoffs and you’re going to be ready to play, and you have to have a little self-motivation. I can’t do it all for them.”

Calera scored the game’s first four points before Tia McCarter exited with 5:37 left in the opening quarter after picking up a pair of fouls. Despite the loss of McCarter — who didn’t return for the remainder of the half — the Eagles held control behind Tyesha Haynes and Kalen Starks. Of her seven first-quarter points, Haynes had five following McCarter’s departure.

Haynes herself went to the bench with 5:33 left in the half after picking up her third foul. Devoid of its point guard, Calera’s offense sputtered until intermission, though Starks recorded four points over that span to help the Eagles enter halftime with a 22-15 edge.

While Haynes didn’t return to action until around midway through the third quarter, the Eagles elevated their performance in that period, powered by six more of Starks’ 17 total points.

Haynes — who tallied a game-high 18 points — came back to score four during the remainder of the quarter, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that lifted Calera to a 19-point advantage entering the final frame.

Though the Yellow Jackets chipped away at the Eagles’ lead in the final period, it was all for naught as Calera’s postseason continued.

Contrary to the outcome, Calera’s unimpressive showing could mean its next game will be its final one if the Eagles’ issues aren’t ironed out.

“Ball security, fouling, not moving your feet, reaching in, just unprepared,” Knowles said. “You have to fix it in a hurry.”

Haynes led the way for Calera with 18 points, five rebounds and two steals, followed by Starks’ stat line of 17 points and two blocks. A’Kia Harris had seven points and eight rebounds, Breonna Caldwell collected 12 points and Keyanna Gayden contributed four points and five rebounds.

For Corner, Ashley Cox and Andrea DeBord each had 12 points while Madison Purvis pitched in with 11.

Calera advances to host Childersburg at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome in Montgomery Feb. 20 in the regional semifinals.