Calera girls handle Shelby County

Published 11:19 am Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tyesha Haynes brings the ball up the court against Shelby County on Jan. 26. (Reporter Photo / Baker Ellis)

Tyesha Haynes brings the ball up the court against Shelby County on Jan. 26. (Reporter Photo / Baker Ellis)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

CALERA – After opening up a 14-4 lead early after the first quarter on Jan. 26, the Calera Lady Eagles eventually cruised to a 52-41 win, although the game was never truly as close as the final score made it appear. The Lady Eagles, led by Tyesha Haynes’ and Tia McCarter’s combined 16 first-half points, used a 20-1 run to end the second quarter to put them up 36-9 going into halftime, which was a deficit Shelby County could not climb back from.

“We wanted to work on our first half stuff, we did a lot of our set plays against the 2-3 zone, which we’ve been working on, and we got up pretty quick,” Calera head girls coach James Knowles said after the game. “Of course we decided we were going to let them back in the ballgame in the second half.”

Shelby County, led by Marjorie Head, outscored Calera 13-7 in the third quarter behind solid pressure defense and some poor shot selection from the Lady Eagles, and pulled the game back to within 12 points midway through the fourth at 44-32. Knowles, who had pulled his starters, put Haynes back in the game to right the ship. A few quick buckets from the star senior and four points also from Bre Caldwell helped stymie the Shelby County run, and the Lady Eagles eventually won by 11.

Knowles was pleased with the win, but knows moving forward he will need more from his reserves.

“Part of those groups are going to be next year’s team, and I was not very impressed,” Knowles said, matter-of-factly. “So we have a lot of work to do with that next group. Ashley’s (Phillips, head coach for Shelby County) girls played hard, shot the ball well. It was just the tale of two halves.”

Calera finished the season 4-2 in 5A Area 7, most recently falling on Jan. 25 to Central Tuscaloosa, which put the Lady Eagles in second place in the area. For Calera to make another deep run in the postseason like it did in 2014, Knowles knows the areas his team needs to continue to improve in.

“We’ve got to work on getting better defensively, getting better on offense and not going through those dry spells like we did tonight,” he said.

Haynes led Calera on the night with 14 points, while Head for Shelby County led all scorers with 15 points, 14 of which came after halftime.