Shelby County avenges loss to Calera

Published 11:21 am Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Quinterrious Montgomery looks to pass around a Calera defender during the Wildcats’ 54-46 win at Calera on Jan. 26. (Reporter Photo / Baker Ellis)

Quinterrious Montgomery looks to pass around a Calera defender during the Wildcats’ 54-46 win at Calera on Jan. 26. (Reporter Photo / Baker Ellis)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

CALERA – On Dec. 1, the Calera basketball Eagles traveled to Shelby County High School for an early-season matchup that ended up being an instant classic. Calera won that game, in overtime on the road, by a final of 68-65 after trailing almost the entire game. In the second meeting between the two on Jan. 26, Shelby County was looking to avenge that earlier season loss on the Eagles’ home floor, and did just that with a gutsy, 54-46 win.

“The first half was really good for us, and even the third quarter was really good for us,” Shelby County head coach Torry Brown said after the game. “They turned us over a little bit in the beginning of fourth quarter and they made a run, which they’re going to do, basketball is a game of runs. But luckily we were able to hold them off there at the end and make some big foul shots down the stretch.”

The first half was indeed good to the Wildcats. Shelby County was the aggressor from the jump on both ends of the floor, and built a big lead early in the game. Calera was unable to get good looks at the rim on offense and settled for a number of outside shots that were not falling early. Meanwhile Shelby County, led by Quinterrious Montgomery, Tanner Brooks and David Watkins, attacked the basket in transition and hit the offensive glass hard as the Wildcats built up an early 14-4 lead after the first quarter.

The Wildcats pushed their lead to 19 after Cory Martin hit a three midway through the second to make the score 25-6, but Calera finally found a little bit of offense on the back of OJ Williams, and went into the half still trailing, but down 29-16.

Another 9-1 run from Calera in the third brought the lead back to single digits at 37-29 thanks in large part to the Eagles’ press defense. If Montgomery wasn’t handling the ball for Shelby County in the backcourt, the results were shaky. But a three from Cole Pate at the buzzer took all the air out of Calera’s sails, as the Wildcats went into the fourth with a 42-29 lead.

But Calera wasn’t done just yet. A 13-4 run, led by Williams and Yatil Gant, brought the Eagles back to within striking distance at 46-42, and a repeat of the earlier season matchup seemed to be in the stars. However, the fourth quarter run also took up a majority of the clock, and the Eagles had to foul. Montgomery calmly hit four straight foul shots to keep Shelby County out in front, and the Wildcats eventually escaped with the eight-point win.

Brown spoke highly of Montgomery after the game, saying his athletic senior guard has stepped up in the absence of Brandon Green, the purest scorer on Shelby County’s roster, who has been sidelined with an injury.

“With Brandon being out, a lot of responsibility now falls on Quinterrious Montgomery,” Brown said. “Luckily tonight he controlled the game with his speed, controlled the basketball, took care of the basketball for the most part, and he was able to find guys for some shots. He did a great job tonight.”

Montgomery led all scorers with 16 points while Williams led Calera with 12.